Contact: Kathy Cummings
City Manager’s Office
KIRKLAND, Wash. –
In a unanimous vote at their February 21, 2017 meeting the Kirkland City Council passed an ordinance (O-4558
) which puts into law long-standing City policy to provide everyone in Kirkland – residents, workers and visitors alike – with the full range of City services, including police and fire services, without discrimination regardless of race, ethnicity or immigration status. The ordinance was complemented by a resolution
reaffirming the Council’s belief in the fundamental dignity, equality and constitutional and civil rights of all people.
The Council’s vote comes after Mayor Amy Walen presented a proclamation
on January 3, 2017 declaring the City’s deep commitment to promoting a just society that respects and welcomes all people. The proclamation directed City staff to assist the Council in developing and implementing a program to communicate the City’s values and invite the community to join the discussion. A citizen petition
was also presented to the Council, signed by more than 750 people, expressing their full support for the proclamation.
The ordinance does not proclaim Kirkland as a “sanctuary city,” as it states that the City will continue to comply with a federal requirement to cooperate with federal immigration officers. But the City will not generally inquire or maintain records related to immigration status or religious affiliation, as provided under current federal law. The ordinance will not shield those who commit crimes, or who are wanted for crimes elsewhere. If anyone breaks the law, they will be apprehended as usual regardless of immigration status. A full list of frequently asked questions
about the ordinance can be found on the City website.
Close to 100 people attended the public hearing held before the Council’s vote. Sixteen spoke before the Council, all of them in favor of passing the ordinance.
“I am proud of what this Council has done and the outpouring of support for the resolution from our citizens,” said Mayor Amy Walen.
Public Safety Committee Chair Penny Sweet said: “This conversation is just beginning.” The City will be convening community conversations about further actions the City can take to keep Kirkland a welcoming City.