Officials in many suburban Chicago communities, particularly inner-ring suburbs with significant immigrant populations, debated and passed actual laws in the past year reaffirming their commitment to those residents but also stating upfront that local law enforcement would not cooperate with federal immigration authorities regarding detainer requests or non-judicial warrants and affirmed that people would not be stopped and detained because of their immigration status.

Suburban school districts, as well, passed resolutions welcoming immigrant students who may or may not be undocumented, pledging to refrain from requiring any student or family show proof of immigration status, to bar federal immigration enforcement officers from school buildings without consent of the superintendent and other measures to ensure students feel safe inside school facilities.

In other words, there are some municipalities that have actively sought to stand up particularly for undocumented children who may be in the country because their parents entered the country illegally.

Judging from some of the tactics federal immigration officials have employed in the past year, we’d say those ordinances and resolutions are rooted in common human decency.

So, it’s a little perplexing why it was such a challenge for members of the Riverside Village Board to pass the most basic of “inclusion” resolutions last week. We suppose there could have been an argument to be made against it, perhaps saying that it fell far short.

In reality, the resolution’s main message was that everyone is welcome to visit Riverside, shop in its downtown, ride bikes through its winding streets and walk through its parks.

Yet, three trustees abstained from voting to approve the resolution. The reasons varied, from the resolution being a frivolous waste of time to the resolution not being vetted by the village’s economic development commission to a head-scratching bit of argument that boiled down to Riverside wasn’t welcoming enough to vote to affirm that the village ought to be more welcoming.

The resolution, in part, was based on the village’s new focus on economic development and wanting to attract business owners and customers from out of town. So we suppose the economic development commission might have given this some sort of cursory glance before it got to the village board, but it seems hardly worth arguing over.

As for the argument that the resolution wasn’t “actionable” and wasted time and resources, municipal boards pass non-actionable, time wasters all the time. 

There are proclamations declaring support for things like Arbor Day and National Library Week. Someone does a good deed and villages shell out a few bucks for a plaque and an oversized key.

So, it’s seems odd that a village declaring a set of principles – “Hey, all are welcome to visit and shop in Riverside” – would face such a high bar.

Of course, the point is moot. Three others voted in support and the village president, who wrote the resolution, would have been a fourth vote in favor if it were needed. So, Riverside is “inclusive,” if reluctantly, officially.

 

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