COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Columbus is now officially a safe haven for immigrants. Monday night, the Columbus City Council put Mayor Andrew Ginther’s Executive Order on immigration into law, but won’t go as far to call Columbus a sanctuary city.
This city ordinance mirrors sanctuary city laws popping up all over the country, but Columbus won’t go as far to call it that. Immigrants in Columbus said it brings them peace, critics say it puts federal funds in jeopardy.
The City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that by law makes Columbus a refuge for immigrants.
“It’s telling the community, all walks of life, refugees, new Americans that you are welcome and appreciated in the city of Columbus,” said Columbus City Council President Zach Klein.
Apostle Alex-Eric Abrokwa-Clottey emigrated from Ghana, Africa. He said many immigrants are scared of losing the life they’ve built here.
“This is a great day because it gives us the liberty which the national flag represents and which the pledge of America represents, liberty for all. So, we stand a great opportunity to move forward in our lives,” said Abrokwa-Clottey.
Similar to sanctuary city legislation passed in other states, the Executive Order strengthens protections for immigrants. It also prohibits detaining people solely based on their immigration status.
City Council hopeful Kieran Cartharn is running for a seat on City Council in November. He calls the new ordinance a political move that puts federal funds in jeopardy.
“I believe that we ought to be taking care of Columbus first, citizens come first,” said Cartharn. “This is not about Donald Trump, this is not about the officials, this is about Columbus.”
City Council President Klein said it’s about human decency and opportunity for all.
This is one of two Executive Orders Mayor Ginther has made. He announced the Executive Order in February following President Trump’s Executive Order on immigration.
Read the order here: Mayor Ginther’s executive order on immigration.
NBC4’s Katie Ferrell is following this story and will have more on NBC4 at 5 and 6.