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Quincy rejects proposed ‘sanctuary city’ study

The South Shore People's Network hosted a rally in front of Quincy City Hall to show support for sanctuary city status. An effort to designate Quincy, Brockton, and Hull as sanctuary communities is picking up steam and galvanizing opposition as well. Rose Lincoln for the Boston Globe
Rose Lincoln for The Boston Globe
The South Shore People's Network held a rally in front of Quincy City Hall on Monday before the City Council voted on a resolution to study whether Quincy should adopt a “sanctuary city” designation.

The City Council has rejected a proposal to study whether Quincy should designate itself a “sanctuary city.”

The council voted 3 to 6 Monday not to take up the controversial issue, which drew about 100 supporters and opponents to the meeting.

Councilors opposed to the resolution said that if some residents want Quincy to become a sanctuary city, those discussions should take place in community meetings and not be led by the council.

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Councilor-at-Large Noel DiBona voted against the resolution, saying the city could not risk federal funding, much of which goes to public schools, by becoming a sanctuary city.

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The proposal, by Councilor-at-Large Nina Liang, called for the council to study the issue and decide whether to joinBoston, Cambridge, Somerville, and others calling themselves sanctuary cities. Liang said she was not in favor or against the designation, but called the matter worthy of consideration.

“It’s our job to rise above and get the facts,” she said.

Voting with her were councilors Joseph Finn and Bill Harris.

Harris had objected to Liang’s resolution at an earlier meeting, a move that prohibited any discussion of it then. But he said Liang attended a subsequent meeting of his constituents in Ward 6 and took questions on the topic, and that impressed him.

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But though he supported a discussion, Harris said he was not in favor of the designation.

“Sanctuary city” is loosely defined and generally means that local law enforcement officials will not report undocumented immigrants to federal authorities. President Trump has said that sanctuary cities and towns risk losing federal funds, though details about how this would be carried out are unclear.

Quincy is home to about 94,000 people, and about 30 percent are foreign-born, according to the US Census. About 27 percent of the city’s population is Asian.

The council vote drew at least 100 people, many of whom held signs either in favor or against the resolution.

Steve Tougas handed out signs that said, “Protect our citizens, no illegal sanctuary.”

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“We had a victory here,” he said after the meeting, adding that “advertising ourselves as a sanctuary city makes us a magnet” for undocumented immigrants.

Rose Lincoln for The Boston Globe
These youngsters were part of a rally Monday calling for Quincy to become a “sanctuary city.”

Before the meeting, about 35 people rallied in front of City Hall in favor of Liang’s proposal.

Sanctuary city advocate Cameron Bateman, from a group called South Shore People’s Network, said people in Quincy should not fear being chased away from their homes.

Bateman said that since the Nov. 8 election he has heard of young students worried about their futures. He said being a sanctuary city would signal that undocumented immigrants do not need to live in fear.

He said the group is committed to working for sanctuary city status for Quincy, despite Monday’s vote.

Jill Terreri Ramos can be reached at jill.ramos@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @jillterreri.