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Hogsett stops short of declaring Indy a sanctuary city

February 12, 2017 | INDYSTAR | Source Article

Indianapolis Congregation Action Network (IndyCAN)

Mayor Joe Hogsett on Sunday told about 1,500 people at a rally on the east side that the city welcomes all immigrants, refugees and marginalized people.

"Indianapolis welcomes all," he said to cheers. "We are not divided. We are united as one city."

The Indianapolis Congregation Action Network (IndyCAN), a faith-oriented grassroots group, organized the rally at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, 550 N Rural St. Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith leaders involved with the group are alarmed by executive orders issued by President Donald Trump that they believe are unfairly targeting immigrants, Muslims and refugees.

Hogsett agreed to work with IndyCAN and the City-County Council to pass a resolution that Indianapolis will not comply with any law a court has determined to be discriminatory or unconstitutional.

While IndyCAN celebrated that as a win, it doesn't constitute a change in the way the city operates. Hogsett stopped short of agreeing to implement new policies on immigration or declaring Indianapolis a sanctuary city. He called Indianapolis a city of inclusivity.

"As a city, we are committed with all stakeholders to ensure that not one dime of city resources funds anything that a court has determined to be discriminatory or unconstitutional," Hogsett said.

Faith leaders are also pressing Sheriff John Layton to stop cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Immigration attorney Emma Mahern said the Marion County Sheriff's office works closely with ICE, helping make Indianapolis one of the top cities in terms of cooperatng with immigration officials. Citing 2012 data, she said the county jail had nearly 100 illegal immigrants at any time waiting deportation at an estimated cost of $100,000 a year.

Layton had planned to attend the event but canceled, citing a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, according to IndyCAN. The lawsuit alleges that jurisdictions in Indiana and other states were holding immigrants without charges, which is an unconstitutional practice. The ACLU won a district court decision in 2016 that is being appealed.

Organizers planned to send a delegation to meet with Layton on Monday to urge him to stop cooperating with ICE.

Other cities have gone further than Indianapolis, declaring themselves sanctuaries for illegal immigrants. In what has become a growing movement, cities such as Cincinnati, Madison, Wis., and Birmingham, Ala., recently added themselves to a list that includes Chicago, Detroit and Nashville. These cities follow certain procedures to shelter illegal immigrants, including not permitting local police to inquire about immigration status and not cooperating with ICE.