Normal Mayor Chris Koos said Tuesday that he only wants to move forward on a Welcoming City ordinance if it can win support from at least five of seven Town Council members.
Koos’ comments come as proponents of the immigration ordinance try to rally public support for its passage. Supporters say the ordinance would stop local police from cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers on deportations. Opponents say local laws shouldn’t tie the hands of police, while others say the law may be redundant in light of the state’s new Trust Act.
The Bloomington City Council is split on the proposal, with supporters like Mayor Tari Renner apparently lacking a five-aldermen majority to move it forward. Some aldermen say they only want to move forward if a similar ordinance is passed in Normal.
In Normal, Koos said town officials are meeting this week with members of the Keep Families Together Coalition that's pushing the ordinance.
Koos said Tuesday the ordinance was "in limbo," though he acknowledged the urgency on it.
“On issues like this that can be divisive in the community, I think it’s important that a large majority of the council is supportive of it before we go forward with it. A 4-3 vote is not a welcoming vote. That’s divisive to me. We have to craft an agreement that makes at least five council members happy,” Koos said on GLT’s Sound Ideas.
He said he doesn’t think a majority of the council supports the measure as of today. Outgoing Normal City Manager Mark Peterson has expressed concern about the proposal, calling it “bad public policy.”
“It’s very problematic for us to say that our police can’t talk to ICE. We have serious issues with codifying such an item,” Koos said, noting Normal Police officers do not regularly communicate with ICE anyway.
Koos noted his own personal support for pro-immigrant policy at the federal level, including a permanent solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He also acknowledged the uncertainty faced by the children of H1B workers in Bloomington-Normal.
“Unfortunately the solutions for those are at the federal level. It’s not something we can do. We can vocalize our support. We can do what we can do at a local community, but that’s just about what we can do,” he said.
You can also listen to GLT's full interview:
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