- Associated Press - Monday, December 12, 2016

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Officials said they will review a request made by a group of about 20 high school students to make Lawrence a “sanctuary city” to protect undocumented immigrants.

The Lawrence High School students said they were prompted to make the request in part by the election of President-elect Donald Trump, the Lawrence Journal-World (https://bit.ly/2gwtDu6 ) reported. Trump spoke of mass deportations and monitoring refugees during his campaign.

“I’m hoping that they’ll feel like their city has their back on some level,” high school junior Viveca Price said.

The students’ request was a part of a petition presented to the Lawrence City Commission last week. The petition also asked for a statement of solidarity with people of color, immigrants, Muslims, refugees, LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups.

City manager Tom Markus said city attorneys will review the request.

The University of Kansas Student Senate passed a resolution last month also asking for the designation.

While there is no legal definition of a sanctuary city, the most well-known idea of a sanctuary city is a local government instructing its law enforcement not to investigate or report someone’s immigration status to federal agencies unless there’s a convincing reason to do so. Opponents of sanctuary cities said the policy can threaten the safety of residents by enabling people living in the country illegally with a criminal history to stay in the country.

“I think a lot of people, their understanding of exactly what sanctuary status does is pretty limited,” city commissioner Matthew Herbert said. “It’s not simply a solidarity statement. There is a whole lot more that goes into it and some of (the) things that go into it involve defying federal orders, essentially. And I think anytime you get into stuff like that, you can’t make it a simple issue.”

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