From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
BIRMINGHAM –The Birmingham city council voted Tuesday to pass a resolution declaring Birmingham a sanctuary city. The move came just hours after Mayor William Bell said in a news conference that Birmingham police would not enforce federal immigration laws, but that Birmingham could not be a sanctuary city because it would violate state law.
By most definitions, a sanctuary city is a city that refuses to enforce federal immigration laws or work with immigration officials in detaining illegal immigrants.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order promising to withhold federal money from what it referred to as sanctuary jurisdictions. The state law that Bell referred to is the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act which says municipalities cannot pass laws that conflict with federal law. Any sanctuary city in Alabama could face civil penalties and daily fines.
The Birmingham city attorney urged the council to go into executive session to discuss the resolution and expressed concerns with the ramifications of its passage. Councilman Steven Hoyt accused the the city attorney of inflammatory talk.
The council, however, has their own attorney, Freddy Rubio, who said it was his opinion that the measure was legal.
Trump’s order withholding any funding deemed legal from sanctuary jurisdictions did not seem to deter the Birmingham council.
“I’m not worried about anyone sending something, if anything they’re going to send more,” according to Rick Journey.
Councilwoman Valerie Abbott expressed concerned over state civil penalties and fines that could be directed at the city.