Mayor Responds To City Council Ordinance

Mayor David Condon responds to City Council Ordinance related to access to facilities by federal agents.

Marlene Feist, 509.625.6505

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 3:06 p.m.

Spokane Mayor David Condon is providing the following information related to an ordinance adopted by the City Council on Oct. 22:

“Last night, dozens and dozens of people provided heartfelt testimony about the experiences they’ve had or seen related to federal immigration enforcement in places like Spokane’s Intermodal Center. They have very real concerns. Unfortunately, today I have the task of informing those same individuals that the action taken by the Council merely provides a false sense of security for vulnerable individuals rather than a change in the practice of Border Patrol or other federal immigration agents.

“Federal law (8 CFR 287(a)(3)) says that such federal officials may ‘within a reasonable distance from any external boundary of the United States … board and search for aliens in any vessel within the territorial waters of the United States and any railcar, aircraft, conveyance, or vehicle…’ Reasonable distance is further defined as a 100-mile distance from a U.S. border. Operationally, these agents don’t seek permission or consent from a local elected official or municipal employee to complete their assignments, so neither the Mayor nor City employees have the authority to impede such activity.

“At the City, we are committed to treating all people with dignity and respect. We already have addressed these concerns within our City operations. By City law and Spokane Police Department policy, our police officers and other employees do not inquire about immigration status or citizenship without a specific nexus to an issue being investigated, recognizing that such status is not relevant to our local work. Our citizens passionately testified about real problems that need real solutions.”