Holland City Council is considering asking local federal representatives to act on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
During the Wednesday, Nov. 15, business meeting, Councilman Wayne Klomparens introduced a draft letter to be sent to Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Sen. Gary Peters and Reps. Bill Huizenga and Fred Upton, asking for “urgent action” on the DACA executive order, which is set to expire March 5.
“I see this as not a Republican or Democrat thing; it’s an issue concerning young adults in our community… and I believe they are entitled to at least some thoughts,” Klomparens told council.
During its Nov. 8 study session, council heard a presentation about DACA at the request of Roberto Jara, director of Latin Americans United for Progress.
As a practice, council has typically shied away from making collective statements to other governmental bodies, though council members are free to make individual statements.
Council members during the Nov. 15 meeting were supportive of urging representatives to act “in some way.” However, the fear is setting a precedent for groups to come to council asking for public stances on other issues, and asking for Congress to take a specific route in addressing DACA. In the letter, Klomparens wrote, “Please support a ‘clean’ Dream legislation.”
Ultimately, Klomparens’ draft letter was tabled for discussion and editing at the Nov. 29 study session, and action at the Dec. 6 meeting.
“There’s a large contingent of the people that are suffering because of a lack of action, of really the whole immigration issue,” said Mayor Nancy DeBoer. “The difference of opinion is what the most effective way to address the federal level people that are in charge of making these decisions.”
Scott Corbin, at the first council meeting of his term, said he was supportive of writing a letter that all council members feel comfortable signing, and suggested a collective clean-up during the next study session. Councilman Jay Peters had the same concerns about language, as the issue is “steeped in politics,” he said.
Peters said he would sign a letter “supporting the notion of getting all their colleagues in one place and doing something before this expires.” Others were in agreement of remaining nonpartisan.
Councilman Dave Hoekstra suggested taking collective stances on a “case by case basis.”
Council will not meet Nov. 22 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. The next study session takes place at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 29 in the second floor training room at city hall, 270 S. River Ave. The next regular meeting takes place at 7 p.m. on Dec. 6.
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