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United Way of Lancaster County


Commissioners to consider resolution declaring Lancaster County a ‘non-sanctuary’ for undocumented immigrants

Lancaster County Government Center, 150 N. Queen St. (Photo: Tim Stuhldreher)

The county commissioners will consider a resolution this week that would declare Lancaster County a non-sanctuary jurisdiction for undocumented immigrants.

A draft of county Resolution No. 33 of 2024 (PDF) is included in the materials for the commissioners’ work session at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 19. It pledges to “continue to prioritize the needs of our own citizens” and not to provide any public benefits to undocumented individuals unless required by law. It notes that Sheriff Chris Leppler has confirmed his office will continue to cooperate with Immigration & Customs Enforcement.

The commissioners normally discuss the week’s legislative business on Tuesday mornings, then vote at their regular meeting the next day.

Like the resolution that Columbia Borough passed last week, the county’s proposed action comes in response to Lancaster city’s new “Trust Act” ordinance ­­— specifically, its stipulation that city police and other staff are not to ask about anyone’s immigration status unless required by law or court order.

Critics say “sanctuary” policies undermine immigration enforcement and the rule of law generally. Commissioners Josh Parsons and Ray D’Agostino issued strong condemnations on social media when Lancaster’s City Council passed its ordinance last month. D’Agostino said the city was adopting a “failed policy” and suggested it should be called a “Breaking Trust Act,” while Parsons said it is an affront to legal immigrants and sets an “awful precedent.”

Parsons and D’Agostino are both Republicans; Lancaster’s City Council members and Mayor Danene Sorace are all Democrats.

The immigration advocacy group CASA pushed for Lancaster’s ordinance, saying it allows immigrants to report crimes and interact with local government and police without fear that they are putting themselves or their friends or relatives at risk.

The county’s resolution calls on Lancaster to repeal its ordinance and for county municipalities to pass non-sanctuary measures of their own.