Community members participate in a March 25 demonstration outside of Melrose Park’s Village Hall in support of a welcoming ordinance. | Univision
Sunday, March 26, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
On March 25, PASO West Suburban Action Project — the Melrose Park-based social justice nonprofit — and other community members organized a demonstration outside of the Melrose Park Village Hall, 1000 N. 25th Ave., in support of a proposed welcoming village ordinance.
According to a press release put out on March 23, supporters of the proposal are advocating that local officials vote on an ordinance that doesn’t have “deportation loopholes.”
During a board meeting earlier this month, Serpico agreed to place the proposal on the agenda of the next board meeting, which was scheduled for Monday, March 27. That meeting, however, has since been canceled.
This is the second time in roughly two months that the village has canceled a board meeting where the proposed welcoming ordinance was to be discussed. Village officials also canceled a Feb. 13 board meeting where the proposal was to be discussed.
At the time, a spokesman for the mayor explained the cancellation by noting that Serpico was out of town and recovering from back surgery. No explanation for this most recent cancellation was given on the village’s website and no members of the board could be immediately reached for comment.
Since Trustee Arturo Mota expressed what seemed like support for at least the idea of a welcoming proposal, or a similar measure, at a Jan. 23 board meeting (where Serpico was absent), no member of the board, outside of the mayor, has spoken on the matter.
During a Feb. 27 board meeting, Serpico said that he could not commit to supporting the welcoming ordinance due to concerns he had about President Donald Trump’s threats to withhold funding from local governments refusing to help carry out his recent executive orders, which call for ramped-up immigration enforcement.
Serpico also said that the village was already welcoming and had implemented measures that expressed support for the village’s immigrant community. He said that the welcoming ordinance would not carry much weight and disputed the argument, made by PASO officials, that the ordinance would provide an added layer of protection for immigrants.
Serpico added that the measure would provide a false sense of security for immigrants and their families.
When a Melrose Park resident asked trustees for their opinions on the matter during a March 13 board meeting, Serpico refused to allow to them weigh in.
PASO Executive Director Mony Ruiz-Velasco wrote in a recently published letter to the editor that 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.
“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.”
The next regular board meeting of the Melrose Park Board of Trustees is scheduled for April 10, 6 p.m., at 1 N. Broadway in Melrose Park. VFP