Mayor Levar Stoney signed a directive Monday that he says “reaffirms” Richmond’s commitment to inclusion in the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration.
In brief remarks delivered on the tail end of his weekly Cabinet meeting, Stoney said the actions out of Washington, as well as bills before the Virginia General Assembly, would not make communities safer.
“These actions peddle fear. They are ill-informed and, I believe, misguided. Some are unconstitutional and others are just plain un-American. That is not the country we are. That is not the city we will be.”
Stoney's order outlines that the city’s chief administrative officer, Selena Cuffee-Glenn, should enforce the following policies:
- “That our city will protect and promote policies of inclusion for all of its residents, regardless of their national origin, immigration or refugee status, race, color, creed, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation or sexual identity.”
- “That the Richmond Police Department will not consent to participate with the immigration customs enforcement 287 (g) agreements, and in the interest of public safety and protecting communities, will maintain its policy of not inquiring as to the place of birth or immigration status of individuals with whom it comes into contact.”
- “That in our interactions as representatives of our city, all employees will focus on the needs and safety of our residents, not on their legal status, and will advocate for and promote their well being."
The mayor will receive weekly updates from the city’s Office of Multicultural Affairs on its interactions, he said. Stoney also directed residents with concerns to call the office.
“Today, by this directive, Richmond reaffirms its position … that we stand with all our residents as a welcoming American city, inclusive and diverse,” Stoney said. “That's what makes us stronger and that’s what makes us one Richmond.”
Reporters were invited to the announcement and signing of the directive, but Stoney did not take questions on the matter.
Neither the directive, nor Stoney's remarks included the term "sanctuary city," which spokesman Jim Nolan says in an email is "often used derisively by immigration opponents to undermine community policing policies."
Generally, the term is used to refer to cities that don't comply with orders from federal immigration authorities. In Richmond, those orders are handled by the Sheriff's Office, not the city's police department.