Maywood Trustee Takes Back His Support of Pro-Immigrant Resolution

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Last month, Maywood Trustees Ron Rivers, (far right), and Melvin Lightford, (second from right), expressed regrets over voting on a resolution supporting immigrants. But the village had already sent the letter off to President Donald Trump and other high-ranking state and federal officials. | Michael Romain/VFP

Thursday, April 13, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Last month, Maywood Trustee Ron Rivers asked his board colleagues if they could rescind their support of a resolution that they unanimously passed on March 21.

Rivers referenced a March 27 announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that doubled down on previous threats made by President Donald Trump to withhold federal funds from cities who go against the president’s mass deportation orders.

Sessions threatened that the justice department would deny cities that adopt sanctuary ordinances federal law enforcement grants.

The motion passed by the Maywood Board of Trustees calls for the state and the federal government to “support immigrants in the United States of America.”

Unlike sanctuary city ordinances passed by municipalities like Oak Park and, most recently, Berwyn, Maywood’s resolution does not call for village officials to defy federal authorities in any way when it comes to immigration or other matters.

According to Village Manager Willie Norfleet, a certified copy of the resolution had already been mailed to President Trump, Gov. Bruce Rauner, Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Rep. Danny K. Davis by the time Rivers told his board colleagues about his change of heart.

“I would like for the board to reconsider the motion we passed to send letters to the president and [other officials],” Rivers said during a March 29 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee meeting. “With this notification, I wouldn’t want to put a bull’s eye on our back,” said Rivers, adding that the board hasn’t “asked our citizens how they feel about this.”

Trustee Melvin Lightford seemed to agree.

“In combat, I have enough sense not to put a target at my back,” said Lightford. “Why shake the bush? Just leave it alone.”

Trustee Michael Rogers reinforced his earlier position when a sanctuary city proposal was first introduced by Trustee Isiah Brandon in February. At the time, Rogers said that he would not vote for any ordinance that would put the village at odds with the federal government, but added that the village should nonetheless take a stance in support of immigrants.

“I was careful not to put forward a motion that could be construed as not being in compliance,” Rogers said. “We sent a resolution that urged federal officials up the line to think about what they’re doing and how it affects [people]. It is not a feel-good thing. It is a thing you should do. You should tell your president how you feel about something.

“There is no penalty for expressing your opinion,” Rogers said. “The penalty that the Attorney General is talking about is being in defiance of the law or executive order that was passed.”

Rogers said that if enough municipalities sent similar letters to state and federal officials, “[those officials] would change their tune.”

Brandon said that he stands behind his original proposal for a sanctuary city ordinance in Maywood, an idea that village officials have said they’re still vetting.

“I still stand behind the idea of having a welcoming city,” Brandon said. “And to those who choose to operate in fear, I can’t take that role. Our community is one that is very diverse and we need to let those individuals who are in the immigrant community know that we stand with them.”

“We’re making a large commitment. I have no problem with the label welcoming city,” said Rivers. “I understand we’re all immigrants and we do welcome diverse citizenry but by the same token, I take a stance of why would we put a bullseye on our back?” VFP

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5 thoughts on “Maywood Trustee Takes Back His Support of Pro-Immigrant Resolution

  1. See this doesn’t make any sense. Trustee Michael Rogers and Melvin Lightford, you are suppose to represent the residents of the village of Maywood, not yourselves. I know that they are Latinos living in the village of Maywood and are scared of ICE and deportation.

    Lightford quote “In combat, I have enough sense not to put a target at my back,” said Lightford. “Why shake the bush? Just leave it alone.” I don’t understand what you are talking about.

  2. We need to support our hispanic family. The school district 209 has a 50% of hispanic population in the school, everyone need a chance at equality of life. Politicians is looking at our hispanic family with dollar signs in there eyes, don’t treat humans like that. The hispanic family has been very instrumental in the growth of our neighborhood, they work hard an earn a honest pay. Support every culture, that is human life.

    1. Jesus: You’re so right! I couldn’t agree more what you typed. In the village of Maywood, I know there are plenty of Latinos living in the village in the section of Lake St. through 10th Ave.

  3. I agree with Lightford and Rivers on this one, let it lay for now. Even Melrose Park didn’t pass the ordinance because of potential ramifications. We are a welcoming city anyway if you want to come here and be a productive citizen, no one on the police dept here is looking to do any lifting for ICE anyway to my knowledge. If you are in our community and making trouble enough to get arrested, we probably don’t want you here–legal citizen or not. This is something I never quite understood about sanctuary cities–why would you want to keep criminals in the community? Stay out of trouble, mind your own business and nothing is going to happen to you

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