Spokane Mayor David Condon said he “fully supports” a Spokane Police Department policy that states the immigration status of an individual “shall not be the sole basis for a contact, detention or arrest.”
The policy, which was reaffirmed by the Spokane City Council last fall in a city ordinance, has come under attack by people who argue it turns Spokane into a “sanctuary city” and encourages lawlessness. Such detractors have made their opinions well known, at one point disrupting a city council meeting and almost stopping the meeting altogether.
Detractors have gathered enough signatures to place a repeal of the immigration law on an upcoming ballot, and this evening the city council will consider sending the signatures to the county auditor for verification.
Condon said he would not vote for repealing the law as it’s written.
“I would vote against it as it’s currently stated,” Condon said. “This has been the policy, remains the policy and I fully support that practice and policy within our police division. Immigration status is not a primary local law enforcement function and is not something our police officers focus on.”
Condon did say that he supported the detractors’ right to collect signatures.
“However, I do support the citizen’s right to follow the process as outlined by the Spokane municipal code to bring forward a local initiative for more consideration by its voters.”
He noted that the language of the initiative could change, so he left open the possibility that his opinion could change, but it seemed unlikely.
“I have not seen the final initiative. I know there’s some question about what will ultimately make it on to the ballot. I support the policy we currently have," he said. "The issue is that it’s consistent, the current ordinance is consistent with our policy, which I do support.”
The Spokane City Council will hear testimony on whether to send the signatures to the county auditor for verification tonight, and both supporters of the law and its detractors have made appeals for like-minded people to turn out and speak.
The city council meets at 6 p.m. at Spokane City Hall.