The leadership in Birmingham, Alabama, on Tuesday took a stand against President Donald Trump's immigration orders — though the mayor and city council differed on terminology.
Mayor William Bell declined to use the term "sanctuary city" during a press conference Tuesday morning, instead using the words "welcoming city."
ABC 33/40 reported that Bell chose "welcoming city" after consulting with city attorneys over ways to support undocumented immigrants while avoiding a loss of federal funding Trump has threatened to cities that defy federal law.
Alabama state law also prevents cities from not complying with federal authorities on immigration.
But the difference is not only in the name. Bell said Birmingham police will cooperate with federal authorities in arresting illegal immigrants accused of breaking federal laws, but would not help rounding up such persons not accused of crimes.
Faith in Action Alabama posted on its Facebook page that Bell also said Birmingham will not implement a stop-and-frisk policy and will issue municipal ID cards.
Less than an hour after Bell's announcement, the Birmingham City Council unanimously passed a resolution using the term "sanctuary city." The resolution does not hold the force of law, according to WBRC Fox 6.
Bell said he is working with members of the Legislature to change or repeal portions of Alabama's immigration law that do not allow cities more autonomy in dealing with illegal immigrants.
Cities currently are not allowed to issue business licenses to such persons, but Bell said he believes the law does not prevent the city from recognizing licenses issued in other cities or states.
Birmingham was one of several cities across the nation that has seen protests against Trump's executive orders. It has a rich civil rights history, including being the scene of various marches where fire hoses were used against protesters in the 1960s.
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