Mayor Kriseman: St. Petersburg is a sanctuary city

- In a blog post late Friday, St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman declared his city a sanctuary city.

The post reads in part, "I have no hesitation in declaring St. Petersburg a sanctuary from harmful federal immigration laws. We will not expend resources to help enforce such laws, nor will our police officers stop, question or arrest an individual solely on the basis that they may have unlawfully entered the United States."

The statement is mainly a political statement and a repudiation of President Donald Trump's immigration policies.

Realistically, no policies change on the city level, because immigration issues are not handled by law enforcement in St. Pete.

When a city or county is a sanctuary city, it typically means they do not cooperate with federal immigration officials by handing arrestees over without a warrant.

In St. Pete, anyone arrested would be taken to the Pinellas County Jail, run by the sheriff's office, which would then decide whether to aide immigration officials by turning over an undocumented immigrant.

So far, Pinellas County has not indicated it has any plans to become a sanctuary county.

Although, it doesn't appear St. Pete would have any practical changes as a sanctuary city, residents have mixed opinions.

"We're here to support each other and give each other opportunies so. The message from the mayor is echoing those statements of we're not going to go out of our way to try to alienate people or push people away from us because we want an inclusive atmosphere," said John Mielke.

Scott Lamer disagrees with the mayor's approach saying, "Our government is here for a reason. It's providing us freedoms. If they want freedoms they have to learn to follow the rules."

It's unclear if St. Petersburg will lose any federal funds after Kriseman's declaration.

President Trump has signed an executive order threatening to take funds away from sanctuary cities.


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