Statement in support of Hyattsville becoming a sanctuary city

March 1, 2017, 7:30pm

City Council hearing on proposed sanctuary city bill

Hyattsville Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street


Good evening, Mayor Hollingsworth and members of the City Council.

My name is Shannon Wyss, and i live at [redacted].  As a US citizen, i would like to speak strongly in favor of Hyattsville becoming a sanctuary city.

I won’t rehash arguments i’ve made for this bill in other venues; no one wants to hear something again for the third or fourth time!  What i will say here is that i do not believe it’s the job of Hyattsville police officers to do the work of ICE.  I’m sure the folks in HPD have plenty of other things to focus on without taking on the additional task of immigration enforcement.

I’m grateful that our police officers don’t ask anyone about citizenship status, nationality, or religion.  I hope this practice can be enshrined into city law so that it remains HPD policy in the future.

To those in this chamber who are opposed to this proposal, i want to assure you that, if other municipalities’ experiences are any guide, this change would not make Hyattsville a magnet for undocumented immigrants or Muslims (although i honestly don’t see why that would be a problem).

I also want to caution us against making generalizations that all – or even many – undocumented immigrants are criminals who don’t contribute to our community and that all of the undocumented folks in Hyattsville are Latinx.  Most undocumented people in the US have overstayed their visas, fewer of them commit crimes than citizens, they come from a variety of countries, they are our taxpaying neighbors, and many have partners or children who are citizens from whom they would be torn away if they were deported.

But regardless of where they came from or how they got here, folks without papers deserve all the dignity and respect that we give both to those who immigrated legally and to citizens.  That includes not being terrified of deportation should they run a stop sign on Hamilton Street or be caught smoking pot on Route 1.

I want all of my neighbors to feel safe in our wonderful city.  So i strongly urge members of the Council and the Mayor to support the proposed sanctuary city legislation.

Thank you for your time.