One local refugee advocate says Vancouver needs to clarify whether or not it’s classified as a ‘Sanctuary City.’
Executive Director of the Inland Refugee Society of B.C. Mario Ayala says in January, his organization received 98 people throughout the Lower Mainland who would have benefited from this designation.
“So far we have received 65 in February, and we haven’t finished the month.”
Sanctuary Cities are generally described as ones that welcome undocumented immigrants, usually not requesting proof of documentation or alerting immigration authorities.
Immigration has been a hot topic in the news amid the rising anti-refugee rhetoric in the United States.
Councillor Geoff Meggs says Vancouver has been an “Access Without Fear” city for the last 14 months.
“The library, the park board, the city, have such a policy that we’re training our staff to implement it and they can have a high degree of confidence when they come to use those services. If they’re involved with the police we don’t have that policy yet.”
But he says there may be legitimate reasons to ask for someones immigration status, and concedes it’s a difficult and complex issue.