Bloomington mayor issues 'Welcoming City' proclamation - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Bloomington mayor issues 'Welcoming City' proclamation

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WEEK) -- -

Bloomington mayor Tari Renner's move to cancel the vote on the proposed welcoming city ordinance garnered at least partial support because some did not think the ordinance would do enough to protect immigrants.

"We're looking for an ordinance that lays out some clear rules on when the police can contact and work with ice and set some limits on that so we can foster community and police relations," Immigration Project Executive Director Charlotte Alvarez said.

Those advocates for immigrants admitted the move was better than nothing.

"I am issuing a proclamation that the mayor has the authority to do declaring Bloomington a welcoming city and that we are a nation of immigrants and that we are welcoming of people and that diversity is our strength," Renner said.

But in the end advocates who were rallying before the meeting said he could have done more.

"It is insufficient because an ordinance is really what, how the city is ruled. An ordinance is what really gives the political legitimacy to the effort we are trying to do which is ultimately protecting Bloomington city residents," CAUSA member Maura Toro-Morn said.

"We were here to tell them that we couldn't get behind that and that we are hopeful and expect them to work on an ordinance that has real input from the community," Illinois People's Action member Sonny Garcia said.

Of course, not everyone thinks the ordinance is necessary.

"This is a  republic not a democracy we are based on laws and this welcoming ordinance, welcoming undocumented people doesn't make sense to me.... everyone has boarders and there is a reason for it. You want to vet the people that come here that can contribute to your country," Bloomington resident Elizabeth Gruber said.  

Renner said he wants Police Chief Clay Wheeler to develop a policy regarding their interactions with ICE and Wheeler said he will.

“While BPD’s interactions with ICE are rare, BPD will be working to meet Mayor Renner’s recommendations, by creating sound policy that will protect the interests and safety of our community to include the immigrant community,” Wheeler said.

There is no word yet on if the welcoming ordinance will be revisited by the council but Renner did say the topic probably will not be revisited any time soon.

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