Ashland city leaders aren’t concerned about losing funding as a sanctuary city

Ashland, Ore. — Sanctuary cities across the country are trying to figure out what’s next.

The attorney general doubled down Monday on ending the status and the federal grants that go with it.

Among those cities – Ashland.

It’s re-committed itself several times to being a safe haven for everyone – including immigrants.

Now Attorney General Jeff Sessions is threatening to withhold as much as $4.1 billion dollars in federal grants to sanctuary cities.

Ashland City Attorney David Lohman says the city of Ashland wouldn’t be affected right away, if at all.

“You can’t make a plan when you don’t know what the situation is and we just have to wait and see,” Lohman said.

Lohman says the city doesn’t have a plan to fight federal funding being taken away as it’s still not clear what funding would stop.

“It’s not clear whether we’re talking about all federal funding. Based on what I have heard, he’s just talking about federal funding related to immigration,” Lohman said.

Ashland Mayor John Stromberg says the topic is very complicated.

If the city did end up losing funding, it could impact a variety of programs.

“That means that we wouldn’t be able to put that money into projects for more affordable housing just as one example, and the smaller amount into social services,” Mayor Stromberg said.

Lohman believes the city of Ashland won’t even be affected.

He says Attorney General Jeff Sessions was specifically talking about cities that get funding for law enforcement related to immigration.

“Some cities get money for that… we don’t,” Lohman said.

Lohman says it’s clear in the U.S. Constitution that it’s the federal government’s job to deal with immigration.

“City and state governments do not have responsibility for immigration and naturalization enforcement. That’s not our role,” Lohman said.

Mayor Stromberg says the city is still standing by its committment to “defend civil and human rights of every person – regardless of race, country of origin, religion, gender or sexuality”.

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