Maywood is considering designating itself as a sanctuary or welcoming city.
Citing the large Hispanic population in the village, Trustee Isiah Brandon has proposed that the village go on record as being welcoming of all immigrants. “We’re a community of diversity,” Brandon said. “We need to send a message that ‘This is your village, that you are welcome in the village of Maywood.’” He said he wants Hispanics and others in the community to feel “Maywood is my home.”
Brandon presented a proposal at the Feb. 15 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee for the village to take action in declaring itself a welcoming community for all people. Other trustees, however, recommended a slower route and that village officials attending the National League of Cities Conference in mid-March gain information on what other communities are doing. Maywood Village Attorney Mike Jurusik will also research what the designation would mean for the village.
“We need to do a study regarding the ramifications,” Trustee Mike Rogers said. “There can be some contradictory things that come with that. We need to make sure we are not cutting ourselves us off from the federal government.” It was noted that Oak Park, Melrose Park and Chicago are among communities that have either already or are considering adopting welcoming city status. Welcoming city and sanctuary city are intertwined, according to immigration experts.
“Oak Park, Melrose Park and other places have a little more in their budgets,” Rogers said “We run thin.” President Donald Trump has threatened to cut federal funding for sanctuary cities, which have policies in place to stop undocumented immigrants from being deported. Jurusik said he does work with Oak Park and will reach out to village officials for information regarding discussions of the welcoming city issue there. He said he will spell out any federal or state implications such a designation could have on Maywood.
Village Manager Willie Norfleet Jr. said this week that the amount of federal money the village receives is very limited. He said the village’s Police Department gets some federal money for programs and the village gets some federal Community Development Block Grant funding through Cook County, “but it is not huge sums.” Norfleet said trustees rightfully want to get more information about the designation and what it would mean for the village.
“It is a valid concern. The money would not inhibit approving being a sanctuary city,” Norfleet said.
“What the village is doing is taking a stance, asking ‘Where are we going to go with this?’ It was more of ‘Let’s not blindly approve something that just was placed on the dais. It seems it may have gotten approved (at the LLOC meeting), but further discussion seemed warranted on what we’re doing … When you have a political hot potato such as that, you want to think it through, what the ramifications are.”
Norfleet expects that the sanctuary city designation will be a prime topic of discussion at the National League of Cities Conference. It should be a major issue. A lot of cities across the country are going to get their heads together and maybe make a real impact, take a stance,” Norfleet said.
“There may be several cities or a conglomeration of cities that unify and say ‘Everyone should be welcome here in America.’ That’s the kind of scenario that I see happening.”
The sanctuary city issue could be back before the village’s LLOC in the later part of March, Norfleet said. He said the village will wait to see what is transpiring in other parts of the county through the National League of Cities Conference before reacting.
“The gut reaction is ‘Let’s welcome everyone,’ but you want more than a gut reaction,” Norfleet said. “You want to hear what others are doing.”