CASA Hails Historic Passage of Trust Act as Role Model for Pennsylvania

CASA Hails Historic Passage of Trust Act as Role Model for Pennsylvania

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Passage of Bill Codifying End of Collaboration with ICE Aimed at Building Trust with Immigrant Lancaster Residents

LANCASTER, PA – Advocacy organization CASA celebrates the Lancaster City Council’s unanimous passage of the Trust Act, a historic legislative initiative crucial for boosting the sense of belonging and enhancing the safety of immigrants within the Welcoming City. The Trust Act ensures that City officials do not proactively collaborate with ICE and do not share their information to aid civil immigration enforcement. The Trust Act allows City residents to more fully participate in civic society without fear, thereby encouraging them to feel safe reporting crimes, using health and social services for their families, and enrolling their children in schools. CASA members, alongside other immigrants, live with fear of family separation caused by ICE in various Pennsylvania jurisdictions and identified safety as a top priority for this immigrant community organization.

Fidel is a member of the community that calls Lancaster City home. He shares, “I have heard so many testimonies from members of our CASA committee that are concerning and very sad because they affect the entire family, especially the children. With the Trust Act I see that this gives us back the hope and dignity that we all deserve. I am very happy for the joint work that the City has done with CASA to make Lancaster a magnificent city, to continue being a joyful citizen and proud of our City representatives.”

Lancaster City’s population is 12.8% foreign-born, according to 2018 U.S. Census data. Lancaster, Pennsylvania was the first city in Pennsylvania to be designated as a Certified Welcoming City in 2019. The passage of the Trust Act reiterates to City residents an affirmation to building an environment where all residents can thrive and belong.

“Lancaster is proud to be a Welcoming City, a tradition established for generations,” said Lancaster City Mayor Danene Sorace. “This ordinance is a testament to our commitment to welcoming all, regardless of background or immigration status. Codifying our Welcoming City designation and public safety practices into City ordinance affirms this work will continue. Immigrants and refugees are a core piece of the Lancaster community and should feel truly at home in our city.”

“True Democratic power lies in the hands of the people,” said Daniel Alvalle, CASA’s Pennsylvania Director. “But this isn’t a reality to many until they see their values and needs reflected in government. The Trust Act ensures additional protection and enhances support for the Lancaster community, regardless of a person’s status. The law sends a message loud and clear to others that Lancaster City is home for everyone, regardless of their immigration status. Other cities should follow Lancaster’s example.”

“The initiation of this ordinance marks a significant stride for Lancaster City, positioning it at the forefront of fostering a welcoming environment for every resident,” said Lancaster City Vice President Jaime Arroyo. “Through the dedicated advocacy and collaborative endeavors of CASA members and the City of Lancaster, we are poised to set a compelling example for all municipalities in our county. This collective effort underscores our commitment to creating communities that are not only inclusive but also safe, ensuring that every individual feels a sense of belonging.”

Similar laws have been enacted in hundreds of local jurisdictions and states such as California, Maryland, Virginia, and Connecticut.

Representative Ismael Smith Wade-El closed, “We do this because we are proud of who we are, and who our community has come to be — a people with a long history of welcome and integration. While some will spend their time manufacturing an immigration crisis for political gain, for the good of our community, we say to all our people, ‘you are welcome, you are safe.’ Congratulations to CASA and to the Council of the City of Lancaster for passing the Trust Act locally and bringing our laws closer in line with our values.”

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