Davis City Council Unanimously Reaffirms Its Sanctuary Status

On Wednesday night the Davis City Council reaffirmed its status as a sanctuary city. The resolution noted that “undocumented immigrants are victims of abuses related to work, housing, and access to basic government-provided resources, and are constantly fearful of deportation.”

The resolution further notes, “The City of Davis supports a fair and just reform to the immigration process, where local funds and resources are not used to enforce federal immigration laws, and where the Davis Police Department has actively committed not to seek out and persecute individuals within the city limits because of their documented status.”

The city recognizes “its past commitment both to refugees and undocumented migrants to this country, and provides itself as a safe community until they can return to their homelands or until they receive federally-recognized residency in the United States.”

Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis introduced Andrea Gaytan of the UC Davis AB540 and Undocumented Student Center, which offers undocumented students and their families immigration-related legal services on campus.

Ms. Gaytan told the council that the center has been open a month as of today (Thursday). “Our primary goal is to support the undocumented students at UC Davis in achieving their academic and professional goals. But we also aim to be a regional resource to provide service and support to undocumented people across Yolo County and the north Central Valley.”

They offer both students and community members access to free consultations in partnership with a program with the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic.

“Most importantly,” she said, they offer “a sense of community and a safe space on campus for undocumented students.”

UC Davis currently has 230 undocumented students on campus this year, triple the number of students they had only three years ago. The California Dream Act has enabled state and private funding for AB 540 undocumented students. Ms. Gaytan anticipates continued growth in the undocumented students as outreach efforts improve.

“If I had to characterize the undocumented students I’ve met in my position as director, I could very confidently say that they are superstars, they’re outstanding people and if you knew them, you’d be proud to call them your friend, your neighbor or your colleague,” Andrea Gaytan said.

Reverend Elizabeth Banks at the Unitarian Universalist Church described that two weeks ago, when she was with a delegation of clergy at the border of Mexico in Nogales, she visited the shrine for one of the deaths that had occurred with people trying to cross the border.

She said that each of these deaths are depicted on a map in the form of red dots and that members of her delegation were given littering citations for leaving water at the places where the most red dots appear on the map.

Reverend Banks described sitting in a Tucson, Arizona, courtroom where 70 men from Honduras admitted to guilt for crossing the US border illegally. “They were led to the courtroom with hands chained to their waists and feet chained together. Led to prison.”

“Two weeks ago I heard the story of young men, whose parents sent them north to a possible death in the desert, rather than have a certain death where the drug cartel would take them in Honduras,” she continued. “I sat in a church with a young woman who is in sanctuary to keep her in this country where she can be with her children who are legal citizens. Our congregations are urged to become sanctuaries again and I’m so pleased to see that our city could also be such a safe place.”

Ana Maciel, a third year student at UC Davis, works for the AB540 and Undocumented Student Center. She said this resolution “sticks really close to my heart as I, myself, am an undocumented student, here in Davis. The center gives me that space on campus but definitely reaffirming that this is going to be citywide is heart-warming to me and to a lot of my peers.”

Vanessa Natalie Cerdá Rojas is a student at UC Davis and said, “When I first arrived at Davis, I felt like I was in a dream. My brain couldn’t comprehend just how safe I felt and up to this day, I continue to feel the same. I know that many of my peers share this feeling, especially my AB 540 peers, the dreamers, those students who are among the 11 million whose voices remain unheard due to their immigration status in the United States.”

“Today, I along with others are here to give those 11 million people a voice, we ask you to keep the city of Davis, a city of sanctuary, a place where undocumented students can freely bike to class and take a midterm without thinking of their legal status. Where children can attend school without worrying about when their parents will get detained. Where parents can make their way to work without the fear of getting deported and having no one to care for their children,” she said.

“Documented or undocumented, everyone deserves an equal opportunity to live in harmony in a safe and peaceful environment. It is a human right, Davis is their sanctuary and we thank you for keeping it this way,” she concluded.

The Davis City Council then moved the item and passed it unanimously.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Tia Will

    Hearing from Ana and Vanessa last night was truly inspirational and made me very proud of our City Leaders and city as a whole being willing to see these bright, articulate and ambitious young people as they are, individuals striving to be their best and to contribute positively to their community. These are exactly the type of young people that we should be encouraging and supporting regardless of their documentation or lack thereof.

  2. Davis Progressive

    it definitely put a very human face on a thorny issue.

    imagine growing up, wondering if the agents of the government have come for your parents?  that’s frightening.  yes, i understand legitimate concerns with illegal immigration, but there is another side to this.

    reverend banks was also truly moving last night.  so too was robb davis’ daughter, who wasn’t quoted here.

  3. TrueBlueDevil

    Not all undocumented immigrants are refugees, and all aren’t here merely for noble reasons. We are a nation of laws, and they weren’t merely put there out of whim.

    Supporters of undocumented immigrants seem to ignore the costs associated with these choices.

    1. California and the US has an ever exploding gang Mexican gang population, including MS13, Nortenos, Sorenos, and the Bulldogs.

    2. There is a large crime component committed by undocumented immigrants. Yes, many are here to send money home to their families in Central and South America. But with the recent killing of two sheriffs in Sacramento by a twice-deported undocumented immigrant, the debate has re-emerged.


    3. African American communities are finally waking up to the economic harm this has caused in their communities, adding 20-35 million lower- and mid-level workers as unfair / illegal competition. (We don’t have 20 million people picking lettuce.)

    4. A fight when the bars close in downtown Davis is not new. But the May 25th violent attack in downtown Davis is troubling. It would be illustrative to know if alleged assailant and the other dozen participants are citizens.

    5. Just last month, the Davis Enterprise reported a violent four-on-one attack in downtown Davis, in broad daylight, with a victim being assaulted to the head with a bottle. All four alleged assailants are residents of Davis with Latino surnames.

    6. I don’t recall crimes like the above two happening in Davis 20 years ago, and I think it would be helped to know what component of crime in Davis is committed by undocumented immigrants.

      1. Barack Palin

        i see, so it’s the fault of the people who are trying to get a college education?

        Where did TBD say that?  Are we only a sanctuary city to illegals that go to college here or are there others who suck off the system and cause trouble who also fall under that umbrella?

        1. Davis Progressive

          it just seems weird that we’re talking about college students getting an education and he’s citing cases where we don’t know that they are undocumented.

          “Are we only a sanctuary city to illegals that go to college here or are there others who suck off the system and cause trouble who also fall under that umbrella?”

          i suppose not.  how are the students sucking off the system?  and how are they causing trouble?

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        The Heritage Foundation has given an estimate on these costs: $700,000 per undocumented immigrant, for a net cost of $6.3 Trillion. But if three times the current estimate qualify for Amnesty, that would ramp the total cost up to $18.9 Trillion.


        Recent polls have demonstrated that many Mexican citizens would prefer to live in the United States. Given this, I’d suggest we offer Mexico the option of joining America. We could add 20 states to America, and try to add some reason and process to the change. So with this expanded America, we’d have larger natural resources (oil, natural gas, beachfront property) to help pay for these new costs. If Mexican citizens vote “yes”, then we undergo the process to see if Americans want to approve the proposal. Problem solved.

        1. Barack Palin

          so getting one out of six right isn’t even a good batting average in baseball

          It’s better than the St. Louis Cardinals do while playing against the Giants in the NCLS. 🙂

          1. Don Shor

            The public overall supports tighter border controls, a path to citizenship for those already here, supports the DREAM Act. http://publicreligion.org/research/2014/06/immigration-reform-06-2014/
            That’s what will be in any immigration reform bill that passes Congress and gets signed by the President. Or he may just enact parts of the DREAM Act via executive order, along with other reforms, if Congress chooses to only focus on border security and fails to pass any other parts. It’s easy to see what the problem is. If you look at the survey I posted, it’s the Tea Party component of the GOP that opposes all reforms. And they’re the driving force in the party at the moment. So I think it’s unlikely that any immigration bill that the President could sign will pass. It all depends on which interest group the new GOP leadership is more willing to anger: their Tea Party base, or the Hispanic voters they need in swing states.

        2. South of Davis

          Don wrote:

          > I’ll just let conservatives debunk that “estimate” for you:

          They didn’t “debunk” the estimate they just made the point that it is probably a little high.

          In one point they note that the study assumes people will live (and get benefits) to 97 (probably high for 2054) and point out that they only live to 78 in 2010 (probably low for 2064).  With advances in technology on average we are living about 10 years longer than 50 years ago and I don’t see why that may not continue.

          Like just about everyone I want to “reform” the mess we have today but there is not any way to make millions “legal” without it costing a lot of money.


    1. Tia Will


      I would say that you make a good case for case by case evaluation when an individual comes to the attention of authorities. Students and anyone else making a contribution and just living their lives peacefully gets a pass. Those who are committing crimes get repatriated. What would be your objection to treating these individuals according to their own merit ?

      All four alleged assailants are residents of Davis with Latino surnames.”

      And if this is your only evidence that they are undocumented, I would say that it is pretty weak…..more like non existent.

      It would be illustrative to know if alleged assailant and the other dozen participants are citizens.”

      And what I think is even more illustrative, is how you see fit to include this without any corroborating evidence in response to an article on Davis’ status as a sanctuary city.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Tia Will asked: “What would be your objection to treating these individuals according to their own merit ?”

        1. We are a nation of laws, and they aren’t following the process.

        2. Where is your compassion for the low- and middle-income American who has had his / her wages hammered for 30 years?

        3. Where is your compassion for African American youth, who have an unemployment rate of over 50 percent in some cities? Many of those entry level jobs which many Americans have worked now go to undocumented immigrants.

        4. 20-35 million illegal immigrants suppress wages and benefits, it is basic economics.

        5. Even former Senator Barbara Jordan suggested a short-term moratorium on immigration to help under-educated African Americans catch up in our economy.

        6. Lower skilled, lower educated undocumented immigrants will be a massive drain on our society.

        7. How about if we import 1-2 million doctors from around the world who are willing to work for half of your salary level, and give them a free pass to work wherever they desire?

        1. Barack Palin

          How about if we import 1-2 million doctors from around the world who are willing to work for half of your salary level, and give them a free pass to work wherever they desire?

          TBD, now there’s an idea, let’s make Davis a sanctuary city for undocumented doctors only.  Maybe my health insurance costs would go down.

        2. Tia Will

          2. Where is your compassion for the low- and middle-income American who has had his / her wages hammered for 30 years?

          3. Where is your compassion for African American youth, who have an unemployment rate of over 50 percent in some cities? Many of those entry level jobs which many Americans have worked now go to undocumented immigrants.

          It is in exactly the same place as where my compassion for these students is. I would love to see us willing to support any one who is working hard and doing their best to advance themselves and contribute. As for bringing in doctors to work, I am all for it. We are so lacking in primary care doctors ( of which I am one) that I would welcome whomever wanted to come and was able to meet the community standard of care. I would also find it fine if we were all paid much less money. Doctors are overpaid and much of that has to do with organized medicines efforts to artificially limit the number of doctors which the profession has been very successful in doing. I am not sure why you ask since I have addressed this issue on many separate threads some of which I know that you have followed.


  4. WesC

    DP:  how are the students sucking off the system?

    It is my understanding that UC in-state tuition/fees cover less than half of the cost of the student’s education.  Undocumented students are eligible for in-state tuition which means they get a substantial subsidy courtesy of the taxpayers.  Undocumented students are also eligible for Cal grants which is another subsidy courtesy of the taxpayers.

    1. wdf1

      Resident families of undocumented students pay taxes, also many undocumented students come from families of mixed status — i.e., some family members are documented, others not.

  5. TrueBlueDevil

    Well well, our Governor is poised to give out about 1.4 million driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, though I think his number is high, given that there will be a very high failure rate on the tests. Maybe Gov. Brown will take his 3rd or 4th shot at President?

  6. Frankly

    This report is well done.


    Now, in this rebuttal piece, here is a perfect example of why the left will never accept real math for illegal immigration impacts:

    More Than Half of FAIR’s Cost Estimate Consists of Education and Healthcare for Children—Nearly Three-Quarters of Whom are Native-Born U.S. Citizens

    Roughly 51 percent of FAIR’s $113-billion cost estimate consists of expenditures devoted to education and healthcare for children with at least one unauthorized parent.

    As FAIR acknowledges, approximately 72 percent of the children counted in its cost estimate are native-born U.S. citizens.  But, in calculating costs for the children of unauthorized immigrants, FAIR makes no distinction between those children who are unauthorized themselves and those who are native-born U.S. citizens.

    Serious economists view education and healthcare for children as investments that pay off later when those children become workers and taxpayers.  Healthy, well-educated children are more productive, earn higher wages, and pay more in taxes when they become adults.

    FAIR’s calculations do not account for the fact that all children are “costly” today, but will pay back those costs later through a lifetime spent working and paying taxes.

    Under FAIR’s methodology, education and healthcare for the native-born child of an unauthorized immigrant is counted as a “cost” assigned to unauthorized immigrants if that child is under 18.  But the tax contributions made by the adult native-born child of an unauthorized immigrant are credited to the U.S.-citizen population.

    FAIR Neglects to Mention the Costs Associated With Removing Unauthorized Immigrants from the United States.

    The costs associated with apprehending, detaining, and deporting millions of unauthorized men, women, and children would be enormous.  A 2010 study by the Center for American Progress (CAP) “calculates a price tag of $200 billion to enforce a federal dragnet that would snare the estimated 10.8 million undocumented immigrants in the United States over five years.”

    In addition, the U.S. economy would suffer if millions of unauthorized workers, consumers, and taxpayers left the country.  A 2010 IPC/CAP study estimates that removing all unauthorized immigrants from the United States and “sealing the border” to future unauthorized immigration would reduce U.S. GDP by 1.46 percent—or $2.6 trillion.

    So, according to the rebuttal, the original report is flawed because it included the FULL cost of illegal immigration over generations, and didn’t include the chasing rainbows scenarios of positive impacts for future generations.

    Talk about cake and eat it too.

    The “damage to the economy” is the same stupid argument we see time and time again… meanwhile there are not enough jobs for legal residents.

    Nobody that I know has a problem with legal immigration.  If we need workers, we can invite them in legally.  We are talking about the problems from illegal immigration.

    So here is where we are… common sense tells us that the fact majority of first generation illegal immigrants… probably over 95%… are poor and uneducated and live below the poverty line for most of the rest of their life in the US…. and a percentage of the next generation will get an education and get out of poverty… but that illegal immigrants are a huge net drain because of our significant social services and free education and free healthcare for a large and pervasive population of them that will stay stuck in low economic circumstances.

    But there are only so many jobs available thanks to the crappy economic policies of the left that favors environmental causes over economic growth.

    And our education system is crappy and growing crappier for poor immigrant students and the kids of the poor American kids that had their earning prospects damaged by the crushing floods of illegal immigration.  Fewer and fewer make it out to attend college and achieve the American dream.

    There are zero studies that can be relied on because of so many assumptions.  So just use common sense.   Illegal immigration is a huge net financial and social drain on the nation and on states and cities.   Anyone that argues otherwise is either ignorant, or too biased to be credible.

    I think most Davisites on the side of supporting a Sanctuary City are really hypocrites in practice…  they can safely advocate for these people only because they live where few will end up, and those that do cannot impact their lifestyle.

    But travel to areas of depressed economics and note the explosion in the poor demographic from illegal immigration, and just like for our tendency to support education policy that benefits us and harms these poor areas, we do the same for immigration.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Talk about another mess, “birthright” citizenship, where a woman can walk across a border illegally, ”drop a newborn birth” in a hospital, and now the baby is a US citizen… and so the parents and family have ties, too.

      I think few countries allow this kind of madness, and ours is tied to a constitutional amendment that was written specifically to protect freed slaves, not to aid illegal immigrants.

    2. tribeUSA

      The population aspect is an important factor as well. The population in California is driven mainly by illegal immigrants and the large first-generation families. There are several impacts of this I can think off the top of my head that directly affect Davis:

      (1) Increasing pressure on UC enrollment numbers; greater total numbers (and thus more competition for limited rental housing; increasing rental costs) and some illegals (or their children) are enrolled in slots where otherwise children of citizens would be enrolled (limited number of slots)

      (2) Danger of Davis aquifer depletion and thus agreement to $100 million plus (excluding financing costs) water project; more expensive water for all and initiating the browning of Davis. Had the population grown more slowly (less pressure if CA population had stabilized) and conservation measures been gradually instituted, the surface water project may not have been necessary. Not just in Davis, but increasing water demand tied to increasing population throughout most of CA.

      (3) Increasing competition for finite land/housing. There was an article on this forum where commentors bemoaned the high Davis (and general CA) housing and rental prices, and the effect on their children. A rising population assures that this situation will continue; and we can live in ever more congested/sprawling towns and cities.

      We are posing greater and greater challenges for our children and grandchildren by neglecting to address one of the root causes of many growing problems; a population that has grown beyond the capacity to be easily sustained. I think our top financial/corporate leaders, who benefit from intensely competing masses of cheaper labor, have succeeded in funneling the message thru their media and political establishments that this topic is taboo, and if brought up should immediately be branded with a racism label. Many ‘educated sophisticates’ appear to readily support this contention, imbibing heartily from the internationalist kool-aid swill; on this topic and many others.

    3. tribeUSA

      Frankly–hmm, I’m OK with the term “unauthorized immigrants” as an alternative to “illegal immigrants”. Each of these terms is certainly more accurate than the term “undocumented immigrants”, as if there is just a technical glitch with the paperwork; a minor bureaucratic fumbling of the documents that the immigrants must patiently wait to get corrected (guess it might happen with amnesty)

  7. Tia Will


    This is a bit of a cheap shot from you. I certainly did not ignore the importation of “cheap” doctors. I have stated many, many times that I feel that doctors are over paid. I believe that all doctors, whether from here or abroad should receive the same amount of compensation hour for hour as everyone else does. You are well aware from previous posts that this is my position. So what exactly was the purpose of your comment ?

  8. WesC

    Many, many American citizens sit at their kitchen tables with heads resting in their hands and wonder how they will pay the bills. They worry if they can come up with the money to fix the car or pay the doctors bills. Students graduate college and move back home with mom and dad without any job prospects and others worry that now as a part timer can they buy Christmas presents for the kids… Despite what President Obama thinks most American citizens are not agonizing and saying “if only Obama can grant amnesty – our lives will be better”… Americans are caring people and would like to see reasonable immigration laws. They however don’t like it when people sneak into America and demand anything… Most Americans don’t want to support, feed, house, educate and give free medical services to illegal aliens. African-Americans feel particularly abandoned by Obama when they see him pandering to Hispanics. Everyone knows full and well that America is not going to deport 10 – 20 million illegal aliens. They aren’t enforcing the immigration laws now.  The much used phrase “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” is simply a political code word for amnesty… America has immigration laws that were simply ignored by illegal immigrants and our own government alike. We already allow a million or so people to legally immigrate to America annually.

    1. Don Shor

      Most Americans, according to public opinion polls, don’t agree with what you say here. Some Republicans do agree with you. Conservative assertions about what “most Americans” believe about immigration are routinely disproven by public opinion surveys. Most Americans support comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship (what you, and conservative commentators and Republican political leaders always call ‘amnesty’). They also support border enforcement.
      Your assertion about African-Americans is particularly unfounded. Just one example:

      A reform proposal that includes a path to citizenship received the support of 66 percent of the more than 800 African-American likely voters polled by Lake Research Partners.


      1. tribeUSA

        I don’t have time to research this, but I suspect most americans would support a path to citizenship; but only if the borders are well-secured FIRST. I personally would support some variety of path to citizenship if first the borders are secured to an order of magnitude more secure than they are now; so that the message gets out that crossing the border to america is extremely difficult.

        1. tribeUSA

          David–I checked the link; and the article does not state the wording of the question that was asked in the phone poll; and whether or not the question included any qualifications re: legal pathway (?what kind of a legal pathway?)

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      I have to side with Wes. I have heard on the radio that that illegal immigration was one of the driving forces in this recent historic landslide election according to post election surveys. Another reason why Obama didn’t want to talk about closing the country to those infected with ebola, or the two sheriffs gunned down in Sac.

      C’mmon, we know the game… liberals want to win these next few elections, and amnesty will keep them in power for 50 years.

      Yes, there have been a number of demonstrations in Chicago with black residents asking questioning the gov’t handouts to illegal immigrants.

      1. Don Shor

        You are incorrect regarding what Americans support regarding immigration reform. Also, “I have heard on the radio” is a pretty poor start to proving anything.

        1. South of Davis

          Don wrote:

          > You are incorrect regarding what Americans support regarding immigration reform.

          It is important to remember that the term “immigration reform” means letting the straight A student who has been in America for 17 years get in state tuition at a college” to some people and “letting anyone that wants to immigrate walk in” to others.

          A poll asking for minor “reform” will have wide support while a poll that gives the OK for 10 million more Mexicans to move to California and legally get on welfare (and get free health care) will not do so well…

  9. Tia Will


    I grant that there are legitimate issues involving Davis and UCD tied to immigration. I am completely at a loss as to how you are connecting policy decisions about Ebola to an article on the status of Davis as a Sanctuary City.

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