By CHELSEA ANDERSON/Montana State News
A large group of Bozeman citizens spoke out Monday at the city commissioners meeting with an ordinance proposing to make Bozeman a sanctuary city which, if adopted, could result in a lack of federal funding for the city.
The group made an unscheduled presentation at the commissioners’ meeting involving several testimonies from immigrants or children of immigrants who argued in favor of immigration. One gentleman spoke, saying “[my parents] as well as other immigrants have enriched this country and living in Bozeman for the last 21 years, I have felt like this city is a sanctuary.”
In their written resolution to make Bozeman a sanctuary city, the group stated: “the city of Bozeman has long been a community made up of diverse individuals and identities […] and the city of Bozeman respects all persons regardless of race, class, gender, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation or immigration status.”
A sanctuary city is a city that has chosen to not use municipal funds to enforce federal immigration laws. Additionally, any resident, regardless of immigration status, is allowed access to city services such as law enforcement and hospital care.
Mayor Carson Taylor released a statement showing a slight favor towards the status of sanctuary for Bozeman. In an interview on Tuesday he said: “everybody should feel safe if they’re reporting a crime or if they’re a victim of a crime, anything that affects the overall safety of the community, I don’t want people to fail to go to the police because they’re afraid their immigration status will come into play.”
There has already been opposition against the proposal. In an interview, Billie Love, the chairwoman of the Gallatin County Republicans, agreed that Bozeman should be welcoming to all immigrants so long as they go through the process legally. Tom Tuck, a Bozeman Tea Party member has also echoed her sentiment of cleaving to lawfulness in this situation.
If Bozeman does choose to move forward with the issue, there could be a shortage of federal funding for the city. In his series of executive orders regarding immigration, President Trump has proposed to cut funding from sanctuary cities.
According to local news, there will be no immediate action towards accrediting Bozeman a sanctuary city. If the issue proceeds there will be a public hearing allowing both sides of the issue to be argued.
– edited By Sarah Snebold