After hours-long public hearing, Salem votes in favor of becoming sanctuary city

SALEM, MA (WHDH) - After hours-long public hearing Wednesday night, the city of Salem voted in favor of becoming sanctuary city.

Hundreds of Salem residents and city officials packed into a local school auditorium to vote on an ordinance that would allow the city to take a necessary step toward achieving sanctuary status.

The ordinance does not violate federal law, but some worry that being called a sanctuary city will warrant unwanted attention. Washington could also withhold the $11 million that Salem gets from the federal government each year.

“It’s illegal immigration. It is against the law,” one resident said while addressing those gathered at the meeting. “This is an intentional violation of federal law,” another resident said.

The mayor and chief of police in the city argued in favor of the ordinance, pointing out that it would alleviate fears of immigrants being unfairly targeted.

“We are deeply troubled by policies born out of race-based slogans,” one resident in favor of the ordinance said.

Around midnight, Salem’s city council voted in favor of the ordinance, 7-4. A vote to finalize the ordinance will take place in April.

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