Chesapeake City Council votes against specifying sanctuary city policies

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Chesapeake City Council did not vote on a resolution Tuesday night that would prohibit the city from adopting sanctuary city policies.

The resolution states that "the City of Chesapeake, Virginia shall continue to enforce federal immigration laws and regulations and shall not adopt sanctuary city policies."

Tuesday night city councilmen voted on a substitute motion that supported the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions in lieu of the resolution that specified Chesapeake is not a sanctuary city.

The motion passed 8-1.

According to the resolution currently, the city and the Sheriff's Office comply with federal laws, regulations and requests as follows:

  • The Police Department will send a notification to United States Immigration and
    Customs Enforcement ("ICE") upon reasonable suspicion that a person arrested for or suspected of criminal activity, is not legally present in the United States.
  • The Sheriff' s Office will respond to an ICE detainer until the end of an inmate's scheduled release date. During this time, ICE may arrange to assume custody of any undocumented immigrants.
  • Purchasing requires that any City contractor or vendor rendering services or goods in an amount of $5,000 or more must provide a sworn certification of compliance with all federal immigration laws, including the Federal Immigration Reform and Control Act.
  • The Department of Human Resources verifies the identity and employment
    authorization of all individuals hired for employment in accordance with the
    Federal Immigration and Nationality Act.

Councilman Robert Ike requested the resolution.

He tells News 3 there are no issues with the city complying with federal immigration laws, but he feels the city should send a message so there is never a question as to whether or not Chesapeake is a sanctuary city.

"It's simply a statement that we are agreeing to abide by and enforce federal law when necessary, I don't think it sends a message to any lawful immigrant in this country," he says. "It may send a message to the unlawful immigrants, which I actually think is a good thing."

Councilman Ike says his request came after Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill, which stated that “No locality shall adopt any ordinance, procedure, or policy that restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws.”

McAuliffe said the bill, which took aim at so-called “sanctuary cities,” would “send a hostile message to immigrant communities."

Some Chesapeake residents feel the same way about the resolution.

"The implications of racism are just too much for the city to risk on this," says Jeff Staples, a Chesapeake resident and candidate for the House of Delegates District 77.

Staples also feels the resolution is bringing politics into city government.

"That kind of aligns us with the Republican Party and city politics should always be neutral," he says. "I'm concerned about how this will make our city look."