At their regular meeting yesterday, Ferndale City Council unanimously passed a rigorous new Welcoming City Policy. The result of a collaboration between City Council and staff leadership, the policy will make Ferndale a safer city for immigrants.
“Given recent events in our country, we as a Council recognized the importance of defining Ferndale as a welcoming city to all,” said Ferndale Mayor David Coulter.
The proposal states that Ferndale—as a welcoming, open, and diverse community—will deliver customer service and administer services to all residents and stakeholders without bias or discriminatory practices. This means that, as a practice, City leadership, law enforcement members, and other staff will not question immigration or refugee status nor deny services based upon it.
“We’re hearing about a lot of varying ‘welcoming city’ proclamations, but we wanted to go the full extent by creating real, credible policies and ordinances to create safety and comfort for the people in our community,” Coulter said.
The City incorporated several components into the creation of their new policy. The Police Department’s Fair and Impartial Policing policy was rewritten to include broad welcoming practices for all, without question of immigration status. Additionally, the City created a new Immigration Status Policy that ensures customer service delivery without bias or discriminatory practices, including a promise not to inquire or make record of the immigration or citizenship status of any employee or resident unless required by law. The City is also in the process of attaining official Welcoming City status through the Welcoming America/Welcoming Cities and Counties organization.
“This isn't about fixing something that's broken within our City or police department; it's about Ferndale being a city that you're welcome in," said Councilman Dan Martin, who helped spearhead the new initiative. "You are safe to report crimes and approach our law enforcement, and you are safe as a resident or visitor.”