Proposed Ordinance Would Reinforce Safety for City’s Most Vulnerable
On Monday, November 19, the Springfield City Council will introduce and vote on “The Welcoming Community Trust Ordinance”, an amendment to the municipal laws that would codify the city’s commitment to preserving the safety of its residents.
Filed by and sponsored by City Councilor Adam Gomez, the ordinance will ensure that the current practice of respecting the privacy of the residents of Springfield encountered by city employees is made into policy. Regardless of a person’s immigration status, employees of the departments of the city will treat every resident with respect and discretion.
The ordinance is being co-sponsored by City Councilors Jesse Lederman, Michael Fenton, Justin Hurst, and Orlando Ramos.
The ordinance follows a recent order by the City Council protecting institutions of faith from political targeting if they carry out their mission of providing refuge to immigrants or their families. The proposed law would expand that protection to hospitals and schools.
Finally, the proposed law would reaffirm city practice that victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and witnesses to crime will be protected by the federal government provided by the Violence Against Women Act, U-Visa, and T-Visa programs.
“We will continue to make clear that the City of Springfield is committed to protecting the rights of all our residents,” said City Councilor Jesse Lederman. “This legislation ensures that all residents can reach out to their city for help without fear of persecution.”
City Council President Orlando Ramos, “Springfield is a welcoming community. It is incumbent upon us as legislators to ensure that all of our residents, regardless of where they come from, feel safe here.”
The organizations involved in coordinating the ordinance includes the Pioneer Valley Project and The Resistance Center for Peace and Justice. A number of residents from the immigrant communities and supporters will be speaking out at public comment at 6:30pm.
It is expected that, following an affirmative vote on the ordinance, there will be two more procedural votes to enshrine it as municipal law. The meeting on Monday will take place in City Council chambers in City Hall.