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Phoenix city council to vote on becoming sanctuary city in two weeks

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LISTEN: Sal DiCiccio - Phoenix City Councilman - Phoenix Sanctuary City

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council will be asked to vote in two weeks on the issue of becoming a sanctuary city, a councilman said Wednesday.

“A citizen dropped off a petition requiring a public vote on whether or not the city of Phoenix is going to vote on becoming a sanctuary city,” Councilman Sal DiCiccio said, who also tweeted the news.

Under the city’s charter, a citizen-submitted petition must be either voted upon or dismissed within 15 days, according to DiCiccio. He said he believes the vote will be Feb. 15.

The councilman said he does not want Phoenix to become a sanctuary city because it could be bad for the city.

“I am firmly opposed to the idea of Phoenix becoming a sanctuary city,” he said. “I think it’s bad for the city of Phoenix. It will cut off our funding.”

DiCiccio said he expects a fight over the issue, particularly with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, should it come to a vote.

“I understand that there are some politicians that want the city of Phoenix to become a sanctuary city – the mayor is pushing his agenda – and now I believe we’re going to end up having to vote one way or the other on this,” he said.

However, DiCiccio said the issue may not have a chance to be considered by the council.

“My guess? The city staff, the city attorney is going to find a way to bury this and I’m glad about that,” he said.

Though there is no agreed upon definition of a sanctuary city, the general consensus defines them as a city that will, in some way, protect illegal immigrants.

Last week, President Donald Trump moved to pull federal funding from those cities.

In some cases, these cities tell police not to inquire about the immigration status of those they encounter, or they decline requests from immigration officials to keep defendants in custody while they await deportation.

Others say they do cooperate with such “detainer” requests as long as they’re backed by court-issued warrants, but won’t allow local officers to enforce federal immigration law.

Advocates say such noncooperation policies protect people who may not have exhausted their rights to apply for U.S. residency. They also say that crime victims and witnesses are more likely to cooperate with police if they are not afraid of being deported.

KTAR’s Lauren Grifo and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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