‘Welcoming city’ backers plot resistance to Bloomington aldermen’s move to table ordinance

welcoming city
Monday night’s Bloomington City Council meeting will not be the first time that ‘welcoming city’ backers have crowded into council chambers. (File photo by Howard Packowitz/WJBC)

By Howard Packowitz

BLOOMINGTON – Backers of a ‘welcoming city’ ordinance for Bloomington have turned to social media to rally supporters of declaration aimed at protecting undocumented immigrants.

A council majority of five aldermen emailed the interim city manager earlier this week requesting the issue be removed from Monday night’s council agenda. Mayor Tari Renner said he pulled the item to provide time for reflection and to review proposed ordinance changes.

The Keep Families Together Campaign wants to make sure the issue remains at the forefront by planning a rally, filling up the spectators’ section at Monday night’s city council meeting, and canvassing target neighborhoods.

They also urge supporters to contact Council member Karen Schmidt, who was one of five aldermen arguing immigrants are already protected by an Illinois law known as the Trust Act. Aldermen also said Bloomington Police are receiving unjust criticism because officers do not turn in immigrants to federal ICE agents for deportation.

Ordinance supporters said they are surprised by Schmidt’s position because they claim she repeatedly assured the group she supported the idea.

Aldermen David Sage, Kimberly Bray, Joni Painter, and Mboka Mwilambwe also called for tabling the ordinance.

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

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