Friday, March 24, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Updated: 5/25/17
During a March 21 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution calling for the state and federal government to “support immigrants in the United States of America.”
The vote came roughly a month after Trustee Isiah Brandon introduced during a Feb. 15 meeting a welcoming village ordinance similar to one passed by the village of Oak Park last month.
Oak Park’s ordinance would prohibit village employees from cooperating with the federal government to identify, apprehend or detain undocumented individuals without a court-ordered criminal warrant.
The resolution passed by Maywood, however, is more of a show of support than a legally binding policy measure prohibiting with the federal government.
In the past, Trustee Michael Rogers has said that Maywood should be careful not to pass any policies that might possibly hurt the village financially, since its not in the same position to absorb any significant financial loss as Oak Park and other wealthier villages.
Recently, President Donald Trump has issued a series of executive orders calling for ramped up immigration enforcement measures and has threatened to withdraw federal funds from local governments that refuse to collaborate with those ordres. Many legal experts say Trump’s demands are in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Rogers said that village officials should allow lawmakers at the county, state and federal levels an opportunity to vet Trump’s actions on immigration before passing an ordinance at the local level.
Both Rogers and Brandon, who attended the annual National League of Cities Conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, referenced information they gleaned from other lawmakers and experts around the country.
“This is a complicated issue,” Rogers said. “The only thing that’s clear is that it isn’t clear. [So, it’s not] prudent to act as if [the issue is] some cut and dry thing. I would suggest that since all the legislators I’ve heard from really didn’t have a clear answer on these things, I’d suggest we not be on the frontline but absolutely in the game.”
Brandon said that he learned from meeting with different experts at the conference that Trump’s executive actions go against the U.S. Constitution. He specifically referenced Trump’s threats to withhold funding from local governments that don’t cooperate with federal authorities in carrying out his immigration-related orders.
“That threat doesn’t hold any weight,” Brandon said. “The president doesn’t have the authority to withhold funds from a village or municipality. That is not how that works. It’s actually Congress who has the power to fund different organizations and communities.”
Michael Marrs, an attorney with Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins, the village’s contracted law firm, said that the constitutionality of Trump’s executive orders hasn’t been adjudicated.
Brandon nonetheless advocated for the village to “stand with communities …. that have stood up in the face of fear,” emphasizing his desire for the village to pass a legally binding welcoming ordinance similar to Oak Park’s.
Rogers said that he would only vote for a largely symbolic resolution while waiting for more information and clarity to materialize with respect to Trump’s executive orders. He didn’t rule out supporting a welcoming resolution ordinance but said that the village should be careful not to connect itself with rhetoric, such as the term “sanctuary city,” that might expose it to potential financial and legal harm.
The village board directed Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet, Jr. to send a copy of the resolution to the White House, members of Congress and Gov. Bruce Rauner. VFP
This article has been updated for clarity.
Draft of the resolution passed by the Maywood Board of Trustees
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