'Sanctuary' label not exactly welcome in Naperville, councilman says
Formally describing Naperville as either a "sanctuary" or even "welcoming" city strikes Councilman Kevin Coyne as a case of bureaucrats finding a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.
“I don’t see it achieving anything because police here already don’t pursue illegal immigrants pretty much as a matter of policy,” Coyne told the DuPage Policy Journal. “It makes no sense for the city to expose itself to the potential loss of federal funding for an issue that’s not really an issue.”
Nonetheless, city officials are in the preliminary stages of weighing a resolution proposed by Councilwoman Becky Anderson that would formally brand Naperville a “welcoming city.”
While across some parts of the country, the idea of a sanctuary city and a welcoming city mean different things to different people, Coyne is convinced that among Naperville council members the terms are considered fairly synonymous and that supporters of the proposal are largely motivated by politics.
“Police here don’t enforce federal law, so why are we so concerned about making sure we have these kinds of laws on the books?” he said.
Coyne said that such sentiment seemed to hit a fever-pitch around the same time a couple of rallies against President Donald Trump were being held around the city.
Since taking office, Trump has signed an executive order vowing to strip federal funding from states identified as sanctuary jurisdictions by Homeland Security.
Coyne also openly wonders if a sanctuary city distinction could prove to have adverse effects on the city’s business community.
In Lansing, Michigan, the City Council reversed a decision to declare itself a sanctuary city after business owners expressed growing concerns about the negative attention the term “sanctuary” could bring to the city and what it could mean to their bottom line.
Richard Studley, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, later told council members to “stop wasting time on costly political statements and focus on real economic issues.”
“I think local business owners may have some concerns," Coyne said. "It would be better for everyone for this legislation not to move forward.”
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400 S. Eagle St.
Naperville, IL - 60540