Activist group requests Pinellas County become a "sanctuary" for undocumented immigrants

Awake Pinellas petitioning for a declaration
Posted at 6:20 PM, Feb 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-15 02:21:16-05
"Love thy neighbor."
That's the message this Valentine's Day from an activist group that wants local government to declare Pinellas County a "sanctuary" for undocumented immigrants.
"When you welcome in people who might not be documented into your community as everyday residents, when you treat them as human beings, our communities are safer, they're wealthier, and they're better off," said Kofi Hunt of the activist group Awake Pinellas on the steps of St. Pete City Hall.
St. Pete's Mayor made a similar request earlier this month in a recent blog post, although opponents to the idea point out the mayor doesn't really have a say in the matter.
"It was essentially a meaningless proclamation because the Sheriff is the one who decides if the federal government learns of illegal immigrants being in the city if they are arrested," points out Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee member Matt Lettelleir. "Mayor Kriseman has absolutely nothing to do with it."
The Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri tells ABC Action News that he doesn't like the idea of the county declaring itself a "Sanctuary" for undocumented immigrants, adding that he'll continue to "assist our federal law enforcement partners to the fullest extent permitted by law."
The only way to get him to change that stance would be to have the Pinellas County Commissioners change the current policy. Awake Pinellas is asking the Commissioners to do exactly that, and they're asking St. Pete Council members to pass a resolution in support of such a declaration.
The Trump Administration has threatened to strip federal funding for sanctuary cities or counties.