Amid immigration crackdown, Honolulu eyes sanctuary city status

Amid immigration crackdown, Honolulu eyes sanctuary city status

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Should Honolulu become a sanctuary city?

That's the question the City Council will take up Wednesday as members review a resolution that would affirm the city's "steadfast commitment to uphold Honolulu as a haven of aloha."

"Hawaii is usually ahead of the curve, so I'm pleased that our state and a lot of community people are demanding that we stand up for our values and say that we are a welcoming state," said Amy Agbayani, chairwoman of the Filipino-American Advocacy Network.

The resolution will be discussed at the council's full meeting, which starts at 10 a.m.

It urges the city and police "not to expend county funds in working with the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division."

"If they're on the job, they're expending resources. To ask people not to enforce the law is rather ridiculous, quite frankly," said State Rep. Gene Ward, who opposes the resolution.

Sanctuary cities limit their cooperation with ICE and other government agencies in order to help people in the country illegally avoid deportation.

Under the Trump administration, the number of sanctuary municipalities has grown — as they've also faced mounting scrutiny.

According to a March ICE report, at least 100 municipalities have enacted policies that limit cooperation with ICE.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, a federal judge blocked an executive order that sought to withhold some funding to sanctuary communities, saying the president has no authority to attach new conditions to federal spending.

The Migration Policy Institute estimates that there are about 21,000 immigrants in Hawaii illegally. Nearly two-thirds of them are listed as being from the Philippines or Japan.

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.