Community leaders and members of PASO-West Suburban Action Project during a regular board meeting in Melrose Park earlier this year. | File
Monday, April 10, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
For roughly four months, members of the Melrose Park-based social justice nonprofit PASO-West Suburban Action Project have been trying to get Melrose Park’s Board of Trustees to pass a welcoming ordinance.
And for roughly four months, the board has resisted, with Mayor Ron Serpico arguing that the measure would be unwise, given President Donald Trump’s threats to withhold federal funds from municipalities that won’t collaborate with federal efforts to deport individuals suspected of being in the country illegally.
On March 27, Attorney General Jeff Sessions doubled down on Trump’s threats when he threatened that the justice department would deny cities that adopt sanctuary ordinances federal law enforcement grants.
Serpico also argues that a welcoming ordinance measure would only be symbolic and would give a false sense of hope to immigrants who think that the proposal might prevent deportations in Melrose Park.
Officials with PASO, however, have said that the local immigrant community doesn’t believe that a welcoming ordinance would be a panacea. It will, they argue, act as an added layer of protection against the federal government’s efforts to deputize local law enforcement agencies so that they might carry out Trump’s orders nationally and on a comprehensive basis.
Last month, PASO organized a march outside of Melrose Park’s village hall, the culmination of months of advocacy.
“As a result, Mayor Serpico committed to placing an ordinance on the agenda for the next board meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, April 10,” according to a PASO statement released Monday. “Despite this previous commitment, [the village] has failed to place a Welcoming Ordinance on the agenda.”
During a regular board meeting last month where the proposal was discussed, Serpico refused to allow any other members of the village’s board to speak on the matter after a resident asked for their input.
Tomorrow, on April 11, Berwyn’s City Council is expected to vote on a proposed welcoming ordinance at a regular meeting in that village. In February, Oak Park passed one of the first welcoming ordinances in the western suburbs. Maywood and Forest Park have also considered the ordinance.
The Melrose Park board meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 10, 6 p.m., at 1 N. Broadway. VFP
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