Boise "Welcoming City" Resolution Affirms City Commitment to Immigrants, Disgust With National Immigration Actions 

- The Boise City Council voted Tuesday on a "Welcoming City" resolution. -  - CITY OF BOISE
  • City of Boise
  • The Boise City Council voted Tuesday on a "Welcoming City" resolution.
The Boise City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday reaffirming its commitment to making the City of Trees an inviting community for all its residents—whether they be refugees, immigrants or otherwise.

Dubbed the "Welcoming City" resolution, it is a formal recognition of the commitment held by the city and its private and nonprofit partners to make Boise feel like home for those who live here.

"There's a lot of national noise right now, and there's really good work being done on the ground," said Boise City Council President Pro Tem Lauren McLean before the vote.

The "national noise" McLean referred to was an executive order signed over the weekend by President Donald Trump—a measure that restricts entry into the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and all Syrian refugee resettlement.

At the state level, Rep. Greg Chaney (R-Caldwell) proposed a law that would deny tax dollars to Idaho sanctuary cities and permit law enforcement to alert the feds of any resident unable to provide documentation of their immigration status within two days of containment.

During discussion of the Welcoming City resolution, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter expressed his displeasure with anti-refugee and anti-immigrant rhetoric since Trump's inauguration Jan. 21, saying it has been a "tough week or 10 days."

"It's been frankly disgusting at times," he said, adding the Welcoming City resolution "is a reaffirmation of who we are."

Trump's order was halted in the courts, but not before sparking protests at airports across the country (including the Boise Airport). Meanwhile, Chaney's bill will receive a full public hearing at the Statehouse.

The City Council resolution was a reminder that, while Trump may act on his "America First" campaign promises and the Idaho Legislature may follow suit, the city of Boise is working to preserve the cultural, political and economic contributions of immigrants.

The city of Boise and its allies in the nonprofit and private sectors offer a bevy of services to immigrants, ranging from housing and job assistance to cultural assimilation and English language training. The Boise Police Department was among the first in the nation to create a dedicated Refugee Liaison position.

Ada County is the most refugee-friendly region of the Gem State: According to a Boise State Public Policy Survey published in January, 63.8 percent of residents favor refugee resettlement in the Boise area. According to The New York Times, more Syrian refugees have been resettled in Boise than New York and Los Angeles combined.

The city resolution did not, however, take the step of making Boise a so-called "sanctuary city"—a legal designation that would set local officials on the path toward refusing compliance with federal authorities seeking information on people who may be in the U.S. illegally.

"This is not a statement of Boise as a sanctuary city," said Boise City Council member Maryanne Jordan. "This is more personal. Sometimes you have to say something because it's the right thing to say."

Several cities, including Seattle and Los Angeles, have vowed to resist Trump's actions regarding refugees and immigration. Sanctuary cities do not collect information about suspects' immigration status during booking procedures, nor do they forward individuals' immigration status information to federal agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Bieter said this is unlikely to be the last time national and state politics take a tone that runs contrary to that of the city of Boise.

"It's probably going to be followed by a number of other things," he said.
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