DELANO, Calif. — The city of Delano held a town hall Saturday to discuss the city's new sanctuary status.
On August 5, Delano became the first sanctuary city in Kern County, after a 4-1 vote by the city council. Council member Bryan Osorio voted in favor of the measure, and organized the event in order to clear any misconceptions the public may have about the city's new status.
"We're holding this town hall as a follow up to the vote that happened a few weeks ago as a way to educate the community so they're not confused as to what being a sanctuary city means," Osorio said.
Osorio believes it's important to talk to the community and help alleviate concerns about trusting law enforcement.
"I think it's very important for us to maintain this trust in public institutions so that people go about in doing their daily routines," he said.
During the August 5 vote, officials wanted to make sure the public understood that a sanctuary status does not mean that undocumented migrants are fully protected in Delano. This is because federal authorities can still arrest them. Pastor David Vivas of the World Harvest International Church says he works with undocumented migrants regularly.
"I just want to make sure that they understand what this resolution is and what it inst, and my concern is that they not be mislead by somebody, not necessarily anybody in here, but somebody in the community that would misinterpret the resolution," Vivas said.
Delano mayor Joe Aguirre was the lone vote against the measure earlier in August, saying he didn't want to give undocumented migrants the wrong idea amid a Donald Trump presidency.
"We have an administration that's out to get them. If they're here illegally and there's issues they're going to come after you. They're going to come looking. You're damn right I'd be concerned. I'd be concerned. You should be concerned. But to go out and tell them you're safe in Delano, that's a lie," Aguirre said at the city council meeting on August 5.
Still, Osorio says it was important for Delano to become a sanctuary city now.
"There was a wave of national threats to deport individuals. You know, there's the guise that it's only for the very criminal background immigrants kind of person. But there's also collateral deportations and detainments that we want to avoid by having these educational forums," Osorio said.
Mayor Aguirre was not at Saturday's meeting but council members Joe Alindajao and Grace Vallejo were in the audience. The meeting was held at the Jefferson Center on Jefferson Street.