Saturday, March 25, 2017 || LETTERS || @maywoodnews
At a moment when immigrants, Muslims and communities of color are under unprecedented attack, local municipalities have a responsibility to enact strong policies that defend and protect vulnerable communities.
Immigrants are living in fear, workers are afraid to go to work, parents fear taking their children to school and children worry their parents may be taken away while they are at school.
Those who argue that welcoming policies are symbolic or create false protection are misinformed. Immigrant communities know that “welcoming” or “sanctuary” policies do not create absolute protections from deportation. However, these policies create a layer of protection by requiring immigration agents to obtain court-issued warrants, a practice they rarely employ.
Some are concerned that the President will remove federal funds from cities that stand with immigrant communities.Those concerns are misguided.
The Supreme Court and hundreds of legal experts agree that the federal government cannot withhold federal funds to coerce local governments to implement mandates.
Communities are stronger and safer when they access city services without fear and when local laws clearly prohibit city officials, police included, from becoming de facto deportation officers.
The president is threatening to deport 2 million to 3 million immigrants in his first year by deputizing local police. Communities must pass ordinances that make clear their commitment to support immigrant communities by not aiding and abetting in deportations and family separation.
There is no more time to waste. Cities and villages like Melrose Park must demonstrate that they will stand with immigrant communities; they will not participate in racist, anti-immigrant initiatives; they will be on the right side of history and justice by passing strong, inclusive welcoming city policies without deportation loopholes; and they will uphold 4th Amendment Constitutional protections for all of their residents.
— Mony Ruiz-Velasco, executive director, PASO-West Suburban Action Project