Updates from Friends of Jaime Arroyo
Mar 18 2024

Know the Facts – Lancaster City Welcoming Ordinance

We know Lancaster is synonymous with welcome. It has long been a foundational value for our community. The Lancaster City Welcoming Ordinance is another affirmation that we celebrate diversity, welcome immigrants and refugees, and are committed to putting our sense of welcome into actionable steps. I want to clarify a few misconceptions we’ve been hearing, and encourage you to read the ordinance for yourself (PDF) to learn more.

Lancaster terminated
cooperation with I.C.E.
Lancaster City cooperates
with state and federal
law enforcement as
required by law
Lancaster is a
Sanctuary City
Lancaster City does not
prevent federal
officials from
enforcing federal laws
This law makes
us less safe
This law allows everyone,
regardless of immigration
status, to feel safe
reporting crimes

Core Components of the Welcoming Ordinance

  • Institutionalizes the “Welcoming City” designation outlined by Welcoming America affirming the City’s commitment to a high standard of inclusion for immigrants and refugees. [Section 2]
  • Formally establishes City Council as leaders in the work of immigrant and refugee inclusion and requires its members to advocate for best practices in welcoming immigrant and refugees locally, statewide, and nationally. [Section 4]
  • Codifies a long-standing practice of providing services without regard to a person’s refugee or immigration status. [Section 3]
    • No official or employee of the City may inquire, request, record, or disclose an individual’s citizenship or immigration status unless required by state or federal law, judicial warrant, court order, subpoena, or the inquiry is reasonably necessary in the course of a criminal investigation.
    • Under no circumstance unless required by state law, federal law, regulation, warrant, court order or subpoena, shall the City provide information to ICE for the purpose of civil immigration enforcement.
    • City officials may in the hiring/application for employment process ask an applicant if they are legally authorized to be employed by the City and/or if they will need an employer sponsor to be or remain lawfully employed.

Key Distinctions

  • The Welcoming Ordinance outlines that City officials and employees must follow state and federal laws.
  • The Welcoming Ordinance outlines that City officials may disclose or retain information on an individual’s citizenship or immigration status, and/or provide such information to ICE should it be a reasonably necessary in the course of a criminal investigation or in response to an articulated, direct threat to life or public safety.
  • Passing this ordinance does not make Lancaster a sanctuary city. Lancaster has never held this status.