San Leandro declares itself a sanctuary city

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. -- In San Leandro, the City Council listened to more than 50 public comments Tuesday night from citizens asking them to declare it a sanctuary city.

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When the San Leandro City Council meets, it always begins with the Pledge of Allegiance, "One nation, under God..."

This would be one council under pressure by an overflow crowd asking for San Leandro to declare itself a sanctuary city.

Many of those here worry about undocumented family members. When Ashley Ortiz kisses her father goodbye every morning, she wonders if she will see him again.

"I'm in school and I can't even concentrate because I wonder if my dad is okay," Ortiz said. "Is he safe? Is he home?"

The timing could not have been more poignant on a day when President Donald Trump strengthened the Department of Homeland Security and its ability to enforce immigration law with more expulsions.

"These are campaign promises, some people are surprised that we have strong borders," said Trump. "That is what I have been talking about for a year and a half--strong borders."

In San Leandro though, there was strong resolve, including from a police department that opposes federal leverage to find and deport undocumented immigrants.

"Public safety is the primary concern of the police department," said San Leandro Police Chief Jeff Tudor. "Not immigration."

The public comments were mostly one-sided. A high school student, Stefanie Rodriguez, saw her uncle deported two years ago. She wonders what is in store for others.

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"If this happens, it could be your entire family, your entire support system," Rodriguez said.

In that room in San Leandro, she was hardly alone. The council unanimously voted to make their city a sanctuary.