Thursday, November 15, 2007

Anchorage Assembly Public Safety Committee Recommends Disapproval Of Assemblyman Paul Bauer's Immigration Ordinance

Special Update: November 15th, 2007, 10:00 A.M. I have since learned from someone actually in attendance at this meting that the quote attributed to Angelina Estrada-Burney in the KTVA story is actually from local immigration attorney Margaret Stock. See the first comment in response to this post. I have updated this post to clarify the reference. Hat tip to Independent Alaskan for providing me the correct information. Updates posted in green.

The Anchorage Municipal Assembly's Public Safety Committee recommended that Assemblyman Paul Bauer's proposed immigration ordinance, AO 2007-125, be rejected after a public meeting in Assembly Chambers on Wednesday November 14th, 2007. Full story on KTUU Channel 2, with a supplemental report from KTVA Channel 11.

The ordinance, if passed by the full Assembly, would require Anchorage Police officers to inquire about the immigration status of those they detain or stop for a separate violation.

Bauer, who represents East Anchorage, says the city is at risk of becoming known as a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants. OJJPAC has already designated Anchorage a sanctuary city by its own definition. However, a number of people testified against it, including Angelina Estrada-Burney of Bridge Builders, a local diversity lobby, and Margaret Stock, a local attorney who's a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Concerns over the possibility of "racial profiling" were expressed. [Ed. Note: The quote attributed to Angelina Estrada-Burney in the KTVA story apparently came from Margaret Stock].

But Municipal Attorney Jim Reeves offered more expert testimony. He said that while the ordinance would not violate federal immigration laws, it could violate the separation of powers doctrine. "A good argument could be made that it's a violation of the separation of powers for the Assembly to go beyond authorizing something and go beyond making conduct a crime and reach down and tell the Police Department what it must do," Reeves said.

Anchorage Police Chief Rob Heun also testified that the department already has a good relationship with the federal immigration and customs enforcement. He did not elaborate upon workload issues. Only 18 people arrested by APD last year turned out to be illegals, and they either were turned over to immigration officials or will be at the conclusion of their prison sentences.

Committee Chairman Matt Claman, who represents West Anchorage, also doesn't think Bauer's concerns hold water. "Because I can't get to the conclusion that we are a sanctuary city under any definition I will join my colleagues on the committee in recommending a 'do not pass'," Claman said.

However, a "do not pass" does not mean the ordinance is dead. It will go forward to the full Assembly, but with the negative recommendation. This will make it harder to pass the ordinance, although depending upon the strength of the public testimony, it is not impossible. At least two other Assembly members, Dan Sullivan (West Anchorage) and Bill Starr (Eagle River) are believed to support it. The ordinance is tentatively slated for public hearing at the next regularly-scheduled Assembly meeting on Tuesday November 27th.


  1. The quote is incorrect. The lady from the Bridge Builders didn't make that quote. It was attorney Margaret Stock who said that. The reporter from KTVA made a mistake when writing that story. I was there, I know.

  2. Thanks for providing the corrected information - I have re-worded my post to reflect this correction. Had I been able to break loose, I would have been there also.

    I guess we just got another reminder as to why KTVA is the number two broadcast news operation here.

  3. The Chief of police actually testified that 18 illegals were caught in the last three years - not last year. That's hardly the flood of illegal immigrants Mr. Bauer would have us believe is about to overwhelm us.