GRANT­ING ‘SANC­TU­ARY’

Com­mon Coun­cil, by 5-3 vote, de­clares city ‘wel­com­ing and in­clu­sive’ to­ward im­mi­grants

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

The Com­mon Coun­cil has adopted a memo­ri­al­iz­ing res­o­lu­tion declar­ing the city “wel­com­ing and in­clu­sive” to­ward un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants, who won’t be asked for pa­per­work dur­ing first en­coun­ters with po­lice.

The res­o­lu­tion passed 5-3 dur­ing a meeting Tues­day.

Vot­ing for the mea­sure were Alder­woman Lynn Eck­ert, DWard 1; Al­der­man Reynolds Scott-Chil­dress, D-Ward 3; Alder­woman Nina Daw­son, DWard 4; Ma­jor­ity Leader Wil­liam Carey, D-Ward 5; and Al­der­man Steven Sch­abot, DWard 8.

Op­pos­ing the res­o­lu­tion were Al­der­man Tony Davis, D-Ward 6; Alder­woman Maryann Mills, R-Ward 7; and Mi­nor­ity Leader Deb­o­rah Brown, R-Ward 9.

Al­der­man Dou­glas Koop, DWard 2 was ab­sent.

The vote came after nearly three hours of pub­lic com­ment in which 37 speak­ers ex­pressed support for the “sanc­tu­ary city” res­o­lu­tion and 17 were op­posed.

Sev­eral of­fi­cials said they could not re­mem­ber the coun­cil cham­bers be­ing filled so far past the 233-per­son ca­pac­ity, with about 370 peo­ple fill­ing the seats and stand­ing along the walls.

If there was an el­e­ment of agree­ment be­tween the sides it was that the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump as pres­i­dent was par­tially re­spon­si­ble for the ini­tia­tive.

“Are you hon­estly telling us you’re not do­ing this be­cause you’re not very up­set about the elec­tion?” said res­i­dent Joe In­garra, who was op­posed to the des­ig­na­tion. “It is a hate­ful act on your part, to call us a sanc­tu­ary city. This is not a good thing.”

Sev­eral peo­ple said the sta­tus was needed be­cause of an ap­par­ent rise in racist acts since Trump’s elec­tion. They con­tend sup­port­ers of the pres­i­dent-elect have felt em­pow­ered to make their feel­ings known with a sense of im­punity.

“On the bor­der be­tween

Ward 3 and Ward 4, ... next to (a) Kingston ele­men­tary school, is a Cen­tral Hud­son re­lay box,” said res­i­dent Abe Uchitelle. “This re­lay box faces all the kids as they walk to school along Wall Street. On the re­lay box ... was a swastika spray painted on the re­lay box and there were two words that were painted on the re­lay box ... and one started with an ‘f’ and one started with an ‘n.’”

Uchitelle said it made him re­al­ize “this is a piv­otal mo­ment for our coun­try.”

Chil­dress noted there have been ques­tions raised about the im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus of the pres­i­dent-elect’s wife, Me­la­nia. “Most un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants are charged with a vi­o­la­tion of the U.S. civil code called ‘unau­tho­rized pres­ence,’” he said. “Unau­tho­rized pres­ence is not a vi­o­la­tion of the U.S. crim­i­nal code, it

is not a crim­i­nal act. In fact, this is what Me­la­nia Trump was guilty of when she was work­ing in the United States with­out a visa.”

Sev­eral speak­ers said they op­posed the res­o­lu­tion be­cause of con­cerns that fed­eral of­fi­cials will with­hold aid and grants.

Other op­po­nents said the des­ig­na­tion would lead to a re­duc­tion in prop­erty val­ues.

“Has Com­mon Coun­cil com­mis­sioned a study to project the im­pact on res­i­den­tial real es­tate val­ues in the city of Kingston?” res­i­dent Vince Rua asked. “Has Com­mon Coun­cil com­mis­sioned a study to in­ves­ti­gate how many new cit­i­zens could mi­grate to Kingston?”

Res­o­lu­tion sup­port­ers coun­tered by say­ing that un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants hold jobs, in­clud­ing Just for You restau­rant owner Leonides San­tos, who told the au­di­ence

that ear­lier Tues­day he was or­dered to leave the coun­try within 30 days.

Other sup­port­ers said that con­cern by un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants about be­ing re­ported to fed­eral au­thor­i­ties does pre­vent them from call­ing po­lice and other emer­gency per­son­nel when the need arises.

“Just a few days ago, some­body smelled gas in my neigh­bor­hood ... and they shut down my street and they looked around to make sure ev­ery­body was OK,” res­i­dent Cal­lie Jayne said. “If some­body was afraid to make that phone call be­cause they were in a lengthy process of be­com­ing a cit­i­zen, does that make us safe?”

Jayne asked op­po­nents to “think about the times you had to call those peo­ple. Be­fore you made that call, did you have to worry about whether your fam­ily

was go­ing to be bro­ken up or if your chil­dren would be­come or­phans?”

Sev­eral speak­ers were from neigh­bor­ing com­mu­ni­ties, with sen­ti­ment also split about the im­pacts of adopt­ing the res­o­lu­tion. Among them was op­po­nent Gae­tana Ciar­lante, who has twice run un­suc­cess­fully for Sauger­ties town su­per­vi­sor.

“I don’t un­der­stand how a gov­ern­ment agency can de­cide they’re go­ing to do some­thing il­le­gal and think they can get away with it,” she said. “And, I’m re­ally per­plexed by how folks can in­ter­change the term ‘il­le­gal alien’ with im­mi­grant be­cause im­mi­grants are gen­er­ally here legally.”

Com­mon Coun­cil sup­port­ers noted the res­o­lu­tion only calls for po­lice to re­frain from ask­ing for im­mi­gra­tion doc­u­men­ta­tion and does not call for fed­eral laws to be ig­nored

IVAN LAJARA — DAILY FREE­MAN

Just for You restau­rant owner Leonides San­tos told the au­di­ence on Tues­day, that ear­lier he was or­dered to leave the coun­try within 30 days. San­tos spoke in fa­vor of a memo­ri­al­iz­ing res­o­lu­tion declar­ing the city of Kingston “wel­com­ing and in­clu­sive” to­ward un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants.

Sev­eral of­fi­cials said they could not re­mem­ber the coun­cil cham­bers be­ing filled so far past the 233-per­son ca­pac­ity, with about 370 peo­ple fill­ing the seats and stand­ing along the walls.

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