Friday, April 19, 2024
Former mayor and state representative Alice Wolf speaks Monday before the City Council.

Former mayor and state representative Alice Wolf speaks Monday before the City Council.

Officials reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining the city’s status as a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants Monday, responding to President-Elect Donald Trump’s pledge to defund such communities.

The council passed three items relating to Cambridge’s designation as a “Trust Act City,” including an appeal to the city manager to fund “any and all programs that may be in jeopardy should the federal government stop funding sanctuary cities.”

In identifying the beneficiaries of federal money and outlining the effect if funds were withdrawn, City Manager Louis A. DePasquale was asked to look at three especially: the Housing Authority, Redevelopment Authority and Cambridge Public Schools.

A third order, passed without discussion, changed the topic of next Monday’s roundtable meeting. Initially it was to talk about universal pre-kindergarten education, and now will be used to talk about Cambridge’s pledge to continue as a sanctuary city. It could start to flesh out the kind of financial commitment the city faces in replacing all federal funding; while the city had a record free cash reserve of $192.7 million in April, there are several expensive projects underway and cuts to the school district budget alone could account for between $4.5 million to $4.7 million annually – now coming in as federal grants.

Residents applauded the council’s commitment to the protection of undocumented immigrants. In the public comment portion of the meeting, more than a dozen voiced support for the orders aimed at addressing Trump’s challenge.

Former Cambridge city councillor, mayor and state representative Alice Wolf spoke in favor of the city’s resolve to remain a sanctuary city, calling for all in attendance to stand up for undocumented immigrants. “We have people in our community as well as communities around the state and around the country who are at risk, or they fear they are at risk. And whatever we can do as a community either personally or from a policy point of view to protect people who are that fearful, we must do that,” she said. “Whatever it takes, we need to do it.”

Councillors were on the same wavelength.

Along with asking City Manager Louis A. DePasquale to explain to local organizations and city departments the city’s status as a sanctuary, one of the orders exhorted Cambridge residents to “treat each other with kindness and peace and to value our differences as the most diverse country on earth.”