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Jackson Not Sanctuary City
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Jackson City Hall

Despite some claims Jackson is a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants, a civil rights attorney says that's not so.

Patricia Ice is an attorney with the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance. She says she helped craft an anti-discrimination ordinance with city officials that the council passed in 2010.  Ice says no one was thinking about making the Capitol City a sanctuary city at the time. Ice says they wanted to have a policy in place that protected citizens from profiling. 

"We asked for non-discrimination based on gender, based on age, based on immigration and several other characteristics," said Ice.

Including race and religious beliefs. Ice says sanctuary cities provide shelter to undocumented immigrants and police don't arrest people for immigration violations, unless a serious crime is committed. Most sanctuary cities openly use the designation. Ice thinks some lawmakers began calling Jackson a sanctuary city several years ago. 

"What I saw is was that some of the Republicans in our state legislature that they decided that that ordinance was a sanctuary ordinance and they started calling it a sanctuary city," said Ice.  

City Councilman DeKeither Stamps also says Jackson isn't a sanctuary city. The anti-discrimination policy helps ensure people's rights are protected.

"First and foremost we're going to make sure public safety is in order and that people are treated with dignity and respect," said Stamps.

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that would prohibit sanctuary cities from receiving federal funding.