Contentious Indio City Council Meeting after Groups Push for Sanctuary City Status

Contentious Indio City Council Meeting after Groups Push for Sanctuary City Status


Indio, CA

It wasn’t on the agenda Wednesday night: sanctuary city status for Indio. It was a topic brought up this week by community members before the city council.

“What we’re asking them to do is look at the principles of not cooperating with federal government coming in and interfering with the city’s business,” says community member Steve Finger.

City officials remained quiet on the issue Wednesday, taking public comment for over two hours.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Wilson spoke on sanctuary city status for Indio last month.

"Your grievances are with the federal authorities,” he said during a city council meeting August 2. “That’s where you should discuss your immigration issues, not in the local cities, not in pushing these policies."

Cathedral City and Coachella are the only two cities in the area to officially adopt sanctuary city status.

STORY: Coachella Becomes Second City in Valley to Adopt Sanctuary City Status

The city’s stance on immigration lies in Indio Police Department’s policy number 428, which outlines how the department will enforce immigration laws and how local law enforcement will work with ICE.

“I can say as a doctor working in Indio, people live in fear,” says Dr. Richard Loftus, a local physician. “We need sanctuary city status here and we need a local government that says, ‘Yes! You’re right, your requests are reasonable and we will study this.’”

The meeting became heated after public comment when Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Wilson addressed comments regarding his Twitter account. Members from the audience began shouting as he addressed the crowd.

STORY: Mayor Michael Wilson Speaks Out Following Controversial Tweet

After community members continued speaking over Wilson, he called a five-minute recess.

The community members said they wanted the city council to take up a study session on the issue.

It appears the city will maintain their position on sanctuary city status for Indio by not adopting the title, but these community groups say they’ll be back to appeal before the council again.