Following President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, the Broward County Commission passed a resolution celebrating diversity while avoiding the term “sanctuary” community.
The resolution declared Broward an “inclusive and welcoming county for all of it's residents and visitors irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity or national origin.”
The resolution sponsored by Commissioner Nan Rich of Weston praised immigrants for making “significant contributions to the economic and social fabric of the nation.”
Rich said in an interview that her resolution “had nothing to do with sanctuary cities.” Trump has said he will strip communities of federal funds that provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants sought by federal officials. In response, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez reversed the county's 2013 policy to stop honoring federal detention requests. Broward never had a sanctuary policy although the Broward Sheriff's Office has said that it will only honor federal detention detainers if there is a finding of probable cfause.
Rich said that immigration activists asked her to sponsor the resolution.
“We have to speak out when people are doing something that is in contradiction to our American values,” she said in an interview.
Rich, who is Jewish, said her grandparents emigrated from eastern Europe in the 19th Century.
“I’m particularly sensitive to the moral imperative to welcoming immigrants,” said Rich, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council in 1999. “We know what happens when doors are closed and people die and they don’t find the refuge and the safety and protection.”
Immigrant and Democratic activists spoke in favor of the county’s resolution and bashed Trump’s actions related to immigrants.
The resolution passed 7-1 after commissioners struck a phrase about offering “refuge,” an early version of the minutes show. Commissioner Chip LaMarca, the lone Republican, cast the dissenting vote. He noted that the county already has an act banning discrimination.
He also said that the resolution wouldn’t do a “damn thing” to protect the county from the federal government taking away money.
LaMarca said in an interview that he didn’t want to risk losing federal funding for port, road and infrastructure projects.
“There have been direct threats from the federal government -- if we don’t do things a certain way they are going to withhold funding,” he said in an interview.