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Bridgeport Votes To Become A 'Welcoming City' To Undocumented Immigrants

May 17, 2017
Originally published on May 17, 2017 1:45 pm

Connecticut’s​ ​largest​ ​city has adopted a term to show its support for undocumented residents, but it’s not “sanctuary city,” the term most cities use. Instead, Bridgeport voted to call itself a “welcoming city.”

The name is a compromise reached between Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim and local activists who've pushed for months for a “sanctuary city” designation. Ganim has said he thinks the term “sanctuary city” is divisive. The activists call this one a victory. They cheered as Ganim announced the vote passed.

Councilmember Katie Bukovsky sponsored the bill, backed by an intense push from the immigrants rights group Make the Road. After the vote, Make the Road organizer Julio Lopez Varona told activists Bridgeport had shown its support for undocumented residents, even though it didn’t use the term “sanctuary city.”

“When we show up as a place where people care, that makes a difference. When we are here for our neighbors, when we care, that makes a difference.”

Police chief A.J. Perez has already said the city won’t help federal agents arrest or deport undocumented immigrants. And the term “sanctuary city” is fuzzy, but that’s generally understood to be the baseline meaning.

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