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Tag: Immigration

May
18th

Last-minute wrinkle delays vote on Tacoma’s proposed opposition measure to AZ immigration law

After a nearly four- hour public comment session that included testimony from some 53 citizens, the Tacoma City Council was set to take a vote on what’s become a highly controversial measure of symbolism: A proposal, co-sponsored by Council members Ryan Mello and Lauren Walker, to oppose Arizona’s tough new law cracking down on illegal immigration.

But, due to a last minute revelation and procedural maneuver by the council, that panel will have to wait another week to take a final vote on the measure — when it is likely to be approved.

The late-hour wrangling drastically changed the tenor of the meeting — not to mention my story for tomorrow’ paper. Unfortunately, that meant I faced a extremely tight deadline and had to devote a lot of the story’s space to describing a little-used and complicated procedural maneuver that allows the measure to be brought back before council.

Essentially what happened was the majority of council members realized late in the game that they were one vote short of a 5-vote majority needed to pass the measure. With two council members, Mayor Marilyn Strickland and Spiro Manthou, absent and out-of-town in Washington D.C., Jake Fey intentionally flip-flopped his vote against the measure. The move allowed him to raise a motion to have the measure brought back to the council next week, when Strickland will be present — and available to likely cast a vote in favor of the resolution. That gives it the needed fifth vote.

(Confused? You’re not alone.)

Prior to the weirdness of what occurred, I’d planned to write a story that focused a lot on the people’s testimony, pro and con. There were some gripping words spoken on each side. They included people’s own tales of immigration and discrimination woes, while speaking in support of the measure; as well as strongly-worded speeches about why the city’s proposal is off-base. I hope to recount some of what was said in this blog tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you tonight with this initial draft of my story on the rather unusual council actions.
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May
18th

Tacoma council members to remove “boycott” language from tonight’s proposal on Arizona

Two Tacoma City Council members who have proposed a measure to discourage business with and travel to Arizona due to that state’s new law cracking down on illegal immigrants are planning to remove the “boycott” language from their proposal, a city spokesman said today.

Council members Ryan Mello and Lauren Walker, who co-sponsored the proposal to be considered at tonight’s council meeting, “are changing the language of the resolution” to focus “more on the issue of racial profiling and a request to the city manager and the utility director not to send city staff on trips to Arizona,” said city spokesman Rob McNair-Huff.

McNair-Huff said the council members have said they decided to remove the “boycott” language and make other changes after having “conversations with their colleagues as well as (getting) feedback from community members.”

Since Mello and Walker publicly released details of their proposal last week, readers have generally denounced the idea in comment threads and a “hot button” poll on The News Tribune’s website.
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May
17th

Seattle council unanimously passes Arizona boycott; Tacoma considers similar measure tomorrow

A day before Tacoma’s council is set to consider a similar resolution, the Seattle City Council today unanimously approved a measure that, among other things, calls for a boycott of business with and travel to Arizona due to that state’s tough new law cracking down on illegal immigration.

The measure, sponsored by Seattle Councilwoman Sally Clark, calls for federal-level immigration reform while ” denouncing Arizona State Senate Bill 1070 as a step in the wrong direction, and requesting that City Departments refrain from sending City employees to the State of Arizona and refrain from entering into new contracts with businesses headquartered in the State of Arizona,” according to the council’s agenda.

“Seattle today, with this vote, would join with a host of other cities that are trying to get the attention of the federal government,” Clark said. “…There’s no doubt that Arizona is struggling and many states are struggling with the impact of a broken immigration system. Seattle struggles with it.”

Clark said the “main problem with the Arizona law … is the position it puts local law enforcement in.”

“We do not want to put local law enforcement in the position of being the immigration police,” said Clark, who noted prospective laws such as Arizona’s could deter illegal immigrants from reporting crimes, seeking health care or taking other actions that could affect the community at large.

“If you’re afraid to call 911, you’re endangering the entire community,” Clark said.
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