Tag: PASO – West Suburban Action Project

After DACA’s End, A Fresh Round of Anxiety

Monday, September 18, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Community members at a Sept. 8 informational meeting at PASO-West Suburban Action Project in Melrose Park. | Alexa Rogals/Wednesday Journal 

President Donald Trump’s recent decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a policy implemented in 2012 by President Barack Obama, has many community members in Proviso Township worried, anxious and preparing to push back.

Continue reading “After DACA’s End, A Fresh Round of Anxiety”

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PASO to Host DACA Community Meeting in Melrose Park, Sept. 8

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Demonstrators during the Sept. 5 protests in downtown Chicago against Trump’s decision to end DACA. | Paul Goyette 

The Sept. 5 decision by President Donald Trump to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA) — a program enacted by the administration of former president Barack Obama that shielded nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation — has prompted demonstrations across the country.

Continue reading “PASO to Host DACA Community Meeting in Melrose Park, Sept. 8”

Breaking: Melrose Park Strikes Down Sanctuary City Ordinance

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Melrose Park residents showing their support for a sanctuary city ordinance in the village during a regular board meeting in February. | File

Monday, April 10, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

During an April 10 regular board meeting, the Melrose Park Board of Trustees unanimously struck down a decision to direct the village’s attorneys to prepare an ordinance that would make Melrose Park a sanctuary city. Trustee Jaime Anguiano was not in attendance.

The board did, however, unanimously pass what Mayor Ron Serpico called Resolution 1217, which “reaffirms” the village’s welcoming policy.

After the vote on the sanctuary city ordinance was over, someone in the audience vowed that more protests would follow tonight’s decision.

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 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 argued 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. VFP

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Easter Egg at Empowerment

 

Welcoming Ordinance Supporters to Attend Melrose Park Board Meeting Tonight, Monday, April 10, 6 PM

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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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Easter Egg at Empowerment

 

Supporters of Melrose Park Welcoming Ordinance Protest Outside of Village Hall | Board Meeting Cancelled

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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

 

Letters: Welcoming Village Policies Are On the Right Side of History and Justice

Letter to the EditorSaturday, 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

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Melrose Park Mayor Refuses to Let Trustees Answer Questions on Welcoming Proposal

ron_serpicoTuesday, March 14, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Supporters of a proposed welcoming ordinance that would “draw a firm line between police and [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement], disentangling the criminal and immigration system,” according to a flyer circulated by the nonprofit PASO — West Suburban Action Project, were back in force at a March 13 regular meeting of the Melrose Park Board of Trustees.

A crowd of at least 100 people left a Feb. 27 board meeting disappointed after Mayor Ronald Serpico refused to commit to the proposal. The mayor, however, said that he’ll “keep the lines of communication open.”

At Monday’s meeting, Serpico wasn’t quite as coy as some residents who spoke insisted that the board at least put the proposal, which wasn’t an item listed on that night’s agenda, to a vote. They also sought the input of individual trustees on the issue.

The last time a trustee spoke on the proposal was at a Jan. 23 regular meeting, where Trustee Arturo Mota said that Melrose Park “has been very supportive of being a welcoming community.” Mota didn’t directly comment on PASO’s proposed ordinance. Serpico was absent.

“Why can’t you come to a vote? Why can’t a decision be made? This has been brought up for a little over a month,” said Melrose Park resident Sandy Aguirre at the March 13 meeting. “Can I get an answer to my first question from each board member? Why can’t you say yes or no?”

“First of all, I don’t think that’s a proper question,” said Serpico. “Second of all, I set the agenda, so if you want to blame someone for it not being on the agenda, you can blame me.”

“This is not a blame game,” Aguirre responded. “I’m asking for a response from each of the board members.”

“No, I’m going to respond,” said Serpico. “So, if you don’t want my response …”

Throughout the meeting, Serpico said that he believes passing PASO’s ordinance would be promoting a “false sense of hope,” because the village has no real authority to stop the federal government from enforcing immigration-related measures in Melrose Park.

He also repeated arguments, made last month, that the village has already taken measures— such as a decision to stop a click-it-or-ticket campaign — designed to help assuage some residents’ fears of deportation.

PASO officials, however, have noted that President Donald Trump’s aggressive immigration directives are highly dependent on deputizing local law enforcement agencies to help carry out the whims of the federal government.

In this sense, a legally binding ordinance would be much more than symbolic, they’ve argued. It would be an additional mechanism safeguarding Melrose Park residents against Trump’s mass deportation plans by ensuring them that the federal government won’t deploy Melrose Park’s resources to carry out the president’s whims.

Serpico, however, said he doesn’t believe passing an ordinance would provide that much of additional protection.

“So we’re going to keep out the federal government if they decide to come in? There’s a false sense of expectations,” the mayor said. “I don’t understand [the argument that the ordinance would provide an additional layer of security].”

“Because you’re not an immigrant! You’re not in our shoes!” some people hollered from the audience.

According to one resident of Melrose Park, who said that she serves on a parental advisory committee for Washington Dual Language Academy in Maywood, the number of parents who have been involved in the committee’s activities has significantly diminished recently. She said that some children are afraid “when they see a police car driving by their school.”

Another person who spoke during public comments — a mental health professional who works in Melrose Park — said that he’s seeing more cases of depression, anxiety and bullying.

“It’s not about … the board,” said Melrose Park resident Bobby Hernandez. “It’s about the families. It’s about Melrose Parkers.”

Serpico said that he would place the proposed ordinance on the agenda for the next regular board meeting scheduled for March 27, 6 p.m., at 1 N. Broadway in Melrose Park. He didn’t say, however, whether or not the board would put the proposal to a vote — or whether any trustees would be allowed to comment on it. VFP

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