Earlier this month the Almanac published a long article about local people digging in to try to counter some of the emerging and anticipated pernicious consequences of Trump-era politics.
These citizen efforts range from participating in marches and rallies, to get-out-the-vote drives. California cities and counties have been getting involved as well, resisting recent Washington actions that threaten sanctuary cities and create an environment of fear among immigrants and the Muslim community.
Last week the Menlo Park City Council gave preliminary approval to two ordinances and passed a resolution that can accurately be trumpeted as "Resist Trump" measures. The Safe City ordinance, if given final approval next month, would codify the current police practice of limiting cooperation with federal immigration officials, identifying the small number of circumstances under which police detainees without documents authorizing them to stay in the U.S. can be held at the request of the federal agents.
The second ordinance, which also needs final council approval, would ban the use of city resources to provide federal agents with certain information about Menlo Park residents -- information such as religion, race, ethnicity, or country of origin. This ordinance is in direct response to statements then-candidate Trump made last year indicating he might support a nationwide Muslim registry -- an odious suggestion in a free society founded on ideals that include freedom of religion.
A resolution also approved that night calls on Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform that, among other things, would include provisions allowing immigrants already here to earn legal residency and offer a clear path to citizenship.
The two ordinances might be seen as merely symbolic -- public statements that make clear a community's support of neighbors, co-workers and friends who are here without documents and who, in reaction to the threats emanating from Washington, might hesitate to report crime, send their kids to school or to the doctor, and continue participating in activities a healthy community offers. After all, the Safe City law would only codify current practice, and despite Republican rhetoric, there is no Muslim registry, or any other based on religion or ethnicity.
But given the erratic behavior of the country's highest-placed official, those symbolic gestures may well evolve into pragmatic strategies in the coming months. It's impossible to predict what new edict will issue from a White House in chaos, with a reckless president who vilifies judges whose legal rulings counter his ill-thought-out executive orders.
The council's actions last week have been loudly praised by some in the community, and hotly challenged as illegal by others. But these measures are legal and within local governments' legitimate power to enact.
We are in full support of the Menlo Park City Council's decision to go down this path, which may in the future prove necessary to prevent families from being torn apart and individuals from being ghettoized and unduly scrutinized on the basis of their religion.
Related story: Menlo Park approves 'Safe City' ordinance.