St. Pete's mayor clarifies sanctuary city statement

St. Petersburg’s mayor is addressing questions over whether the city will seek to become a sanctuary city for immigrants – in the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive order.

In a blog post Mayor Rick Kriseman wrote that he had no hesitation declaring St. Pete a sanctuary from harmful immigration laws, saying that law enforcement would not become the ‘immigration police.’

After confusion expressed from members on city council and the Pinellas County Sheriff Ben Kirby, a spokesperson for Kriseman clarified, saying St. Petersburg will not seek sanctuary city status, because the jails are controlled at the county level.

“The mayor has said we are [a sanctuary city] in spirit,” Kirby said. “That’s the message we want to send to the world.”

In a statement, Pinellas sheriff Bob Gualtieri responded to the mayor saying, “Pinellas County is not and will not be a "sanctuary county" for people who commit crimes. Regardless of statements made for political purposes.”