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Effingham County considering 'immigrant sanctuary' resolution

Effingham Daily News

Tuesday, July 10, 2018  |  Article  |  

Immigration (99a) , Local Government (60)

The lone Democrat on the Effingham County Board on Monday proposed a resolution that would make the county a sanctuary for immigrant families.

Karen Luchtefeld’s resolution comes on the heels of resolutions supported by the rest of the board, but which she opposed, that declared Effingham County a sanctuary for guns and the unborn.

The gun resolution garnered national attention, and has sparked similar proposals in several other rural Illinois counties. Luchtefeld’s proposal, raised during the board’s legislative committee meeting, died for lack of a second. But it could be resurrected.

Luchtefeld said the resolution was based on a vote by 300 Catholic bishops to call on local governments to take a stand against separating immigrant children from their families.

Board Member Lloyd Foster questioned whether the sanctuary status would pertain to legal or illegal immigrants, a point Foster and other board members said was unclear. Board Member Rob Arnold said he would consider the resolution if that point was expanded upon.

“I wouldn’t be opposed to it if we could define whether this means legal or illegal,” Arnold said. “The Constitution tells me that I can’t support an illegal act. The Constitution tells me that an illegal alien has not followed the proper procedures.”

Luchtefeld said she is unsure whether the bishops’ vote is specific to undocumented or documented immigrants. She urged her fellow committee members to consider the Catholic Church’s standpoint.

“All the churches and all the bishops are asking us to support these families,” Luchtefeld said.

Despite the lack of a second to her motion, County Board Chairman Jim Niemann said he would review Luchtefeld’s resolution for further discussion later.

Meanwhile, Board Member Dave Campbell proposed a referendum related to the firearms sanctuary resolution, saying it could be on the November ballot and read:

“Should the Illinois General Assembly pass any additional legislation limiting citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms as defined by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution?”

Campbell explained that adding the question to the ballot would reinforce whether or not the board made the right decision in passing the resolution. He said other county boards such as that in Christian County have already voted to have the question or a similar one on its ballot.

Campbell said much of the negative feedback since the passing of the firearms sanctuary resolution prompted his call for a referendum.

“We feel strongly here that we made the right decision for the most part,” Campbell said in regard to the resolution.

Board Member Joe Thoele questioned the need for such a referendum, saying November’s election will spell out how voters feel about the issue.

“If people don’t like what we did, they’ll vote us out,” Thoele said. “We’ll find out in November if we’re doing right or not.”

The referendum was tabled until the Tax and Finance Committee meeting on Thursday.

The county board also held a special meeting Monday to pass a resolution for the prevailing wage rates that workers must be paid for county projects.

Niemann said the resolution must be passed before July 15, or the board could face a Class A misdemeanor charge, as well as put its grants at risk.

Arnold said though he doesn’t like the resolution, the board must pass it.

“It’s a lose-lose (situation), but you have to pass it. We don’t have an option,” Arnold said. “I’m not happy with it. I don’t like it, and I don’t see why we’re voting on it.”

Board Member John Perry questioned whether or not there will be repercussions from the state for not passing the prevailing wage resolution, adding that knowing the consequences would affect his vote.

The board passed the prevailing wage resolution in a 7-2 vote.