Activists call on St. Pete City Council to ask county to grant sanctuary status
A small group of activists gathered Tuesday on the steps of St. Petersburg's City Hall to call on the City Council to pass a resolution asking the county to seek sanctuary status for undocumented immigrants.
Recently, Mayor Rick Kriseman sparred with Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri over the issue after Kriseman wrote a blog post that some interpreted as making St. Petersburg to be a sanctuary city. Gualtieri said the county has that authority and he would not stop cooperating with federal authorities over the immigration status of prisoners in the county jail.
The City Council should follow Kriseman's lead and approve a resolution asking the county to change its stance, said Kofi Hunt, an organizer with Awake Pinellas.
Hunt criticized Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn for saying that Tampa was not a sanctuary city and urged him to follow Kriseman's example.
Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida, said President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration show that Americans can't take their liberty for granted.
Marc Rodriguez, field representative for Florida AFL-CIO, said unions support undocumented workers who are frequently subject to unfair labor practices and low pay.
Immigrants aren't lowering wages and stealing jobs, he said, blaming policies of corporate CEOs and billionaires.