Mansfield Town Council to discuss sanctuary city process at next meeting

Mayor Paul Shapiro said the council voted to add the discussion of sanctuary city process to agenda for the meeting on Dec. 12 after a number of impassioned speakers strongly supported the idea at their Nov. 28 meeting.  (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus) 

The Mansfield Town Council will discuss the possibility of becoming a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants at its Dec. 12 meeting, said Mayor Paul Shapiro.

Shapiro said the council voted to add the subject to their agenda after a number of impassioned speakers strongly supported the idea at their Nov. 28 meeting. He said the issue will ultimately be decided either by an ad hoc committee or the council itself.

Town Council members are open to Mansfield becoming a sanctuary city, but require more information on what this would mean for a town that is part of the Resident State Trooper Program, said Deputy Mayor William Ryan.

“I think the sentiment of the council is that we would like to go ahead with this, but we need to understand more about how to do it,” Ryan said.

Generally, a town becomes a sanctuary city by instructing its police force not to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement or other officers pursuing undocumented immigrants.

However, Shapiro said Mansfield has no influence over how state troopers operate in town. Ryan said it unclear whether Mansfield can request officers who report to the Troop C Barracks in Tolland, not pursue undocumented immigrants within the municipality.

Without this ability, any action taken by the Town Council may be largely symbolic, said Ryan.

“That is one of the great unanswered questions,” Shapiro said. “We are not like New Haven or Hartford, both of which are sanctuary cities. They have their own police department, we do not.”

The Connecticut State Police’s Public Information Office was not available for comment in time for publication.

While Mansfield is subject to the state police, the University of Connecticut Police Department has legal jurisdiction over UConn’s campus, Shapiro said. This means that the university can instruct it to govern its own property as it sees fit.

The university is currently examining the issue and the Division of Student Affairs plans to follow-up with Undergraduate Student Government and other interested students, according to a statement released by Deputy Spokesperson Tom Breen.

“The university’s aim is to produce information on this issue that can be shared throughout the campus community,” the statement said. “UConn is a public university, so much of what we do on this and other issues is guided by state laws and policies.”

Information when the university expects to release a plan for how UConn would handle the deportation of an undocumented student was not available in time for publication. Student activists at “Rally for the People,” a Nov. 10 protest in response to the victory of President-elect Donald Trump, demanded university administrators produce a plan by Dec. 1.


Kimberly Armstrong is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at kimberly.armstrong@uconn.edu.