Renner unsure if council will approve ‘welcoming’ ordinance compromise

BCPA meeting
Bloomington aldermen will meet February 12 at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts to take final action on a proposed ‘welcoming city’ ordinance. They met at BCPA December 18 to discuss the issue.   (file photo by Howard Packowitz/WJBC)

By Howard Packowitz

BLOOMINGTON – Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner does not know if aldermen will pass a ‘welcoming’ ordinance even though he says the police chief is on board with a compromise proposal.

Final action is expected February 12 at a city council meeting to be held at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts to accomodate a large turnout on both sides of the immigration issue.

Renner said city staffers have been working on a compromise with Police Chief Brendan Heffner.

The chief worried public safety might be threatened if his officers are prohibited from working with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents.

Renner would like a resolution stating that local police do not enforce local immigration laws, so people would not be afraid of deportation if they cooperate with officers.

“Let them know we do not enforce immigration laws. Call the police if there’s a robber. Call the police if you’re a victim of domestic violence. So, I think we want that message to be out there,” the mayor said.

“I’m strongly in favor of this. I do not know honestly if it will pass,” Renner also said.

Aldermen, at a meeting last month, were sensitive to Chief Heffner’s concerns.

Also, council member Kimberly Bray wondered if a local ordinance is even necessary because Gov. Bruce Rauner in August signed the Illinois Trust Act. The law forbids local and State Police from questioning undocumented immigrants about their status, and prevents authorities from detaining them without a warrant.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at howard.packowitz@cumulus.com

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