PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh City Council held a hearing Wednesday on formally adopting “Sanctuary City” status.

Petitions by the Pittsburgh Sanctuary City Coalition gathered at least 60 signatures.

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Immigrants living in Pittsburgh gave emotional testimony about how their families were torn apart because a father or mother was deported while the rest of the family lives here.

“We want security for our families, mainly for our kids,” one woman said through an interpreter.

No one spoke in opposition to sanctuary cities.

Councilwoman Darlene Harris says she used to be opposed, but she was swayed by what she heard Wednesday.

“I never want to see children split from their parents, that would break my heart,” Harris said.

Councilman Dan Gilman, who’s considering proposing a sanctuary city law, says that immigrant children are living in fear.

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“In the back of their minds, is mom or dad gonna be there when I get home? Or did ICE come? That’s not the way children in America should be raised,” Gilman said.

“We are hard working people, we also help the economy of the United States,” one immigrant said.

Councilman Corey O’Connor says Pittsburgh is currently a “welcoming city.”

“There is an internal police policy where you would, if somebody is arrested, [by] a local police officer . . . you would not hand them over to an ICE official. So that’s been the discussion,” he said in an interview with KDKA Radio.

Sanctuary city status is a highly controversial issue.

President Trump is threatening to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities, and legislation is pending in the Congress and in Pennsylvania that would ban sanctuary cities.

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