Everyday, countless numbers of our neighbors are forced to live in fear of detention, abuse, and deportation. This is a reality that some of our current elected officials have attempted to deny, willfully ignore, or, more recently, side-step and evade responsibility with half measures and window dressing in the name of being “welcoming”.
In response to reports of heinous acts including family separation, inhumane living conditions, forced medical procedures and sterilization, and a myriad of other brutal abuses perpetrated against people held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Bloomington-Normal Democratic Socialists of America calls on the Bloomington City Council to enact a comprehensive Welcoming Cities ordinance.
The well documented, ongoing trend of systematic cruelty, and the terror that it imposes on members of our own community, preceded the outgoing administration, and intensified over the last 4 years. While for some, a new White House may elicit hope for an in what has been the norm for over a decade, there is no guarantee that the perils of a broken immigration system will cease, nor can there be an assurance that any potential end to the explicitly brutal treatment of people in ICE custody will not resume under a future administration.
For over two years, a broad representation of local faith groups and civil rights organizations, as well as hundreds of outspoken residents, have publicly called for the Bloomington City Council to enact a Welcoming Cities Ordinance. Our call for action was met with indefinite delay by the last council, and now an attempt at substitution by way of the current council’s introduction of a false solution known as “Welcoming America”. If our city is to deem itself “welcoming”, not only in name, but in deed, and if our elected officials are to truly uphold the values that represent the best of our community, we must hold them accountable to utilizing the powers that they’ve been entrusted with to enact substantive policy to protect and provide for all of our residents, regardless of citizenship status.
That is why the members of Bloomington-Normal Democratic Socialists of America call on our community to support the introduction of a Welcoming City ordinance, as proposed by our champions on the council, that include the provisions outlined below.
The proposed Welcoming Cities ordinance will prohibit the following actions (unless they are required by state or federal law):
(1) the use of any municipal resources for any immigration enforcement activity;
(2) any collaboration or communication between City staff and immigration enforcement agencies;
(3) any City employee from inquiring about a person’s immigration status, or collecting said information;
(4) any municipal benefits from being denied to residents on the basis of immigration status; and
(5) the City from entering into Section 287(g) agreements or voluntary federal registry programs based on
religion or immigration status.
Additionally, the ordinance would:
(6) require appropriate City staff to consider requests for certification for U-visas;
(7) require the City to review and modify any City documents or forms to eliminate any inquiry of immigration status or social security number, unless legally required;
(8) instruct Bloomington Police officers to consider the risk of deportation when exercising discretion to arrest