Alderman Karen Schmidt said she cannot support a Welcoming City ordinance at this time.
After months of several aldermen refusing to commit one way or the other on a plan to limit police communications with federal immigration officials, Schmidt said it places too many restrictions on legitimate police exchanges with the federal government.
“As I read it, I think it’s very limiting,” Schmidt said of the ordinance's third draft.
She said there are Class X felonies, such as kidnapping and armed robbery, which would not be permissible items to talk to the feds about. Schmidt said she believes those are legitimate reasons for police to have conversations with other law enforcement agencies.
Schmidt said she's going public with her opposition now because some people in the community are distorting the positions of aldermen with character attacks.
She said the city does not have to face a binary choice of having an ordinance or not. The community needs to do other things to decide how to become a welcoming community for immigrants before she would consider a Welcoming City ordinance, Schmidt said.
"What I think we have to have in place before we seriously would consider a Welcoming City ordinance is the kind of what I call infrastructure in the community to make sure that we are not creating more problems for the people that we are trying to help," said Schmidt.
Any time you mention it, a lot of people leap to Sanctuary City and with that comes anger and misunderstanding, according to Schmidt.
“If you follow what’s going on in California, which is a sanctuary state, the fallout of that is that ICE is taking a lot of measures on its own and it’s also emboldening people to turn in people that they are suspicious of. And I don’t think that is what this community is all about. I want to put tools in people’s hands so that when they encounter hostility or misinformation that we have a common language that we can use to support one another,” said Schmidt.
"I have been asking to have a communitywide conversation to avoid setting Bloomington up for more divisiveness," Schmidt said.
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