Urbana council OKs sanctuary-city designation

Urbana council OKs sanctuary-city designation

URBANA — The Urbana City Council on Monday night approved a resolution that will officially designate Urbana as a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants.

The vote was witnessed by a packed room and received a round of applause. It was spurred by President-elect Donald Trump's several campaign promises to deport millions of undocumented immigrants.

Just one council member, Mike Madigan, voted in opposition.

"A bedrock principle of our government is the rule of law," Madigan said. "This is a political overreaction to the election of a president."

About 50 of the meeting's attendees declared support for the decision, and a letter submitted to the council was signed by 200 others in support. Mike Doyle, board member of the C-U Immigration Forum and executive director of the University YMCA, said backing away from the vote would be a mistake.

"I think Trump's threats are about silencing voices and intimidating communities that welcome and embrace immigrants," Doyle said.

Two people spoke in opposition. One said she teaches English to international students so they can apply for U.S. citizenship and called the resolution an insult to them. The other said the move is unnecessary since Champaign County officials handle any Urbana deportations.

Whenever any of the commentators stated something as fact, it was seldom attributed to a source. Alderman Eric Jakobsson said that was not conducive to an effective discussion.

"There are a lot of 'facts' on the internet that are not facts," Jakobsson said. "When we have any sort of issue like this, I go to peer review papers."

Before voting, Alderman Bill Brown reminded the audience that passing the resolution will not give the city the ability to protect someone from being deported. Instead, the resolution vows to:

— "Work with community advocates, policy experts and legal advocates to defend the human rights of immigrants."

— "Respond to requests from immigrant communities to defend them against all crimes ... assist people with limited language proficiency and to connect immigrants with social services."

— "Reject any effort to create religious litmus tests or registries of individuals based on religion or ethnicity."

— "Oppose any plan that threatens to strip federal funding from cities which have adopted policies that protect undocumented immigrants and other non-citizen residents from deportation."

— "Join with councils and mayors from ... around the country to stand with our immigrant residents."

Megan Flowers, communications director and immigrant-friendly communities coordinator at the University YMCA and a Champaign resident, commented, "Champaign is taking notes, and hopefully it will follow suit and work together with Urbana on this."

Alderman Aaron Ammons said he will contact a resident who offered to help translate the resolution into different languages including Spanish.

"To listen to the descendants of people who raped, robbed and murdered Native Americans to gain this particular land —they're saying the behavior of undocumented people is illegal," Ammons said. "If we want to have a civil discourse, we will take all of history into context, or it is not civil in my eyes."

Alderwoman Diane Marlin said she received more phone calls on this issue than any other she has worked on, and a number of those were in opposition.

"The (presidential) election taught us that words matter, and the words spoken throughout the campaign incited fear on both sides. These are good words, they tell the world where we stand," Marlin said of the resolution. "Words matter, and I stand behind these words."

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Pointblank wrote on December 20, 2016 at 8:12 am
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Alderman Bill Brown issues a cautionary note to those who feel better having passed this resolution: it does not stop anyone from getting deported. 

n9oqu wrote on December 23, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Urbana has chosen to rule against federal Immigration Law which is a violation of their Oath to uphold the US Constitution. I hope President-elect Trump makes good on his promises and cuts the Federal funding in many of Urbana's programs. Liberals have no right to choose which federal laws to obey or disobey. THE RULE OF LAW should apply equaly to everyone! I feel that ICE and other federal agencies should come down hard on Sanctuary cities. Sanctuary cities undermine the voters right to elected representative government! It also undermines the Black Community because those with little opportunity will have to compete with people who are illegally here. Race is not the issue...Policy is the issue!

Automan wrote on December 20, 2016 at 8:12 am
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Will the resolution stop the Urbana Police Department from detecting illegal aliens, or participating in the round up of illegal aliens?

stingray1970 wrote on December 20, 2016 at 9:12 am
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Breaking news:  The Urbana City Council passes a resolution that will accomplish nothing!

Cuthbert J. Twillie wrote on December 20, 2016 at 11:12 am

A A Ron


You might want to look at the history of Starved Rock State park and why it was named..........

It wasnt always the white folks who did this..................


but that does not meet your metrics now does it.


Pay your Metcad bill and then worry about non sensical issues.............


To listen to the descendants of people who raped, robbed and murdered Native Americans to gain this particular land —they're saying the behavior of undocumented people is illegal," Ammons said. "If we want to have a civil discourse, we will take all of history into context, or it is not civil in my eyes."

Urbana71 wrote on December 20, 2016 at 4:12 pm

I attended the entire council meeting last night.  Like many, I was very disappointed. I came with an open mind and I was hoping to hear some intelligent discourse regarding the proposed “sanctuary city” ordinance.  Unfortunately, race baiting and grandstanding (mostly by one council member) overshadowed any productive conversation.  Unless you aim to generate more hate and anger, it accomplishes nothing.  I’m not disappointed with the decision rather I’m disappointed with the clearly prejudicial and racially motivated process that led to the decision.

When are we going to stop living in the past, categorizing people by race and pointing fingers?  We need practical solutions.   We have to move past this stage. 

I do not identify myself by race, where my ancestors are from, how dark my skin is or isn’t.  I identify myself as an American. 


Dean Hazen


OffTheBusRunning wrote on December 20, 2016 at 1:12 pm

"To listen to the descendants of people who raped, robbed and murdered Native Americans to gain this particular land —they're saying the behavior of undocumented people is illegal."

Their behavior, according to the laws of our nation, is illegal. Factcheck true.

To stoop to Mr. Ammons level of nonsensicality, why should the descendants of people who raped, robbed, and murdered Native Americans pay any attention to what a descendant of African peoples says about a particular issue? (we can presume his descendants are from Africa, as he identifies as African-American)

Additionally, Mr. Ammons, what about the inconvenient truth that were it not for the people who raped, robbed and murdered Native Americans to gain this particular land, you would still be in Africa, I would still be in Europe, and there would be no Urbana? It would seem to me that we owe our existence on this ground to those people you villify.

It doesn't matter if one of my descendants paraded around with an Indian head on a pike, or if one of yours murdered someone in the next settlement over. We are responsible for OUR actions, not THEIRS. You would have us respect you and your perspectives because you rehabilitated your own life, which you can control, yet you would dismiss and condemn the perspectives of others because of the historical actions of a distant relative, over which they had no control? That is hypocritical, prejudicial, and cowardly behavior, and prevents us from having any logical, reasonable, and rational discourse about these matters.

Instead of declaring your city a haven for those breaking the law, you should devote that energy to addressing some of the primary causes for undocumented immigration. For example, one of the primary reasons people avoid the documented process: cost. Not only are the costs prohibitively high already, they are set to increase markedly on December 23:


You don't have to wait for Trump to take office to cry foul about that--you can credit the Obama administration for making the barrier to legal citizenship even greater than it already was.

BruckJr wrote on December 20, 2016 at 3:12 pm

Thank you Mike Madigan.

CommonSenseless wrote on December 20, 2016 at 3:12 pm

Well this is all great news! I guess Urbana has solved all their funding gaps, completed all the road and infrastructure repairs, figured out a viable economic development plan, made preparations for the inevitable cost increase for insurance benefits, eliminated the street crime and drug problem, solved the homeless issues, and ended hunger of impoverished children. Oh wait, they have done none of that. What better than to waste time and energy on a pointless and fruitless endeavor, that at best changes absolutely nothing, and at worst draws undue attention to this corner of the world. Glad to see priorities are important.

How is that Carle tax war going?  Oh yeah, they are moving to Champaign.

chief21 wrote on December 20, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Love the "cherry picking" of laws. Let's see...I might enforce this law, I might not. Kudo's to Mr. Mike Madigan..the only clear head on the council of shameless grandstanders.

Shoot'em up wrote on December 20, 2016 at 10:12 pm

As long as these idiots want to play this I will not spent a penny in Urbana

novanut wrote on December 21, 2016 at 7:12 am

Urbana is a JOKE and aways will be with this group in charge. Il shop any place but Urbana.

aantulov wrote on December 21, 2016 at 10:12 am

This resoloution is an empty promise, that will most likely affect the poor and working class if followed through via loss of CDGB funds or lawsuits.

If these liberals truly wanted to help people they would work to create a sister city relationship with say :

Gary Indiana

East St. Louis, Illinois

Flint Michigan

Dead cities in desparate need of the hard working, desparate for investment. If 100,000 show up and bought homes, built homes, refurbished homes, invested in business, the cities would be healed in months. They would raise the values of homes stuck there.  And these cities would have good reason to defend their path to citizenship as valued partners. 

Deportation will cost and will not work.

Amnesty without requirements is weak leadership and will drain our debt ridden country to death.