The Newberg City Council is tentatively scheduled to weigh whether it will become an "inclusive city" early next month, after members of a local group presented a draft resolution to the council last week.
Mayor Bob Andrews said the inclusive city resolution, if approved by the council, would not designate Newberg as a "sanctuary city," but would stress the value of all residents of the community while reiterating the state's prohibition on enforcing federal immigration laws.
"We're recognizing the worth of people and we're reaffirming our adherence to state law; that's basically what it's doing," he said.
Two members of Yamhill County group Unidos Bridging Community presented a draft of the inclusive city resolution to the council, Feb. 6, reading a statement and the resolution in English and Spanish with a group of about 50 supporters in the audience. The city of McMinnville approved an amended version of the resolution in January.
Sally Godard, executive director of the group, previously said they chose "inclusive" due to the historically religious connotation of "sanctuary" and the fact that cities cannot offer physical protection to refugees and immigrants as the term would suggest.
Cities across the United States and Oregon, including Beaverton and Portland, have designated themselves as sanctuary cities, instructing their employees and police not to enforce federal immigration laws, even after President Donald Trump issued an executive order instructing federal agencies to withhold money from sanctuary cities.
Andrews has previously said federal officials are likely to see Oregon as a sanctuary state because of its law prohibiting state law enforcement or any subdivision of the state, like cities, from using state resources to enforce federal immigration law. This has led some to worry that federal funding for local projects like the Newberg-Dundee bypass may soon dry up.
City staff deferred questions about how reliant Newberg is on federal funds to Andrews, who said it is unclear at this time if the city is vulnerable to losing federal funds and how much is at stake. When he requested more information from members of Oregon's congressional delegation, he was assured that the U.S. checks-and-balances system put Congress in charge of how federal money is spent, not the executive branch.