Hyattsville votes in favor of becoming sanctuary city; final council vote in 2 weeks

The City of Hyattsville has preliminarily voted in favor to become a sanctuary city. The council voted 8-2 in support of a bill that would make sure the city does not intervene in federal immigration matters.

Hyattsville is following in the footsteps of other cities such as the District of Columbia, which has declared itself a safe haven from law enforcement randomly looking into someone's immigration status. The argument from most of these "sanctuary" jurisdictions is that it is not their job to enforce federal immigration laws.

The sanctuary city debate has been intensifying in the D.C. region and nationally as President Donald Trump signed an executive order earlier this year threatening to pull federal funding from jurisdictions that don't comply with immigration policies.

In the past seven years, Hyattsville has received more than $1 million in federal grants - most of that has gone to the police department.

"What the council has talked about is what legal ability does the federal government have to withhold funds in those cases," said Hyattsville Community Service director Jack Rollow. "They are of the opinion that remains to be determined. So I think council would say they are willing to take the risk."

Monday night's council vote is not final. The bill will go up for a second council vote on April 17.