Metro council votes on local immigration policy

Metro council votes on local immigration policy
Metro Council voted to enact the ordinance in October 2017.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Up for vote at Thursday night's Metro Council meeting is an ordinance addressing what kind of authority local government employees have regarding immigration status.

Those for and against the ordinance said it will affect many in the city of Louisville.

There are thousands of undocumented families in Louisville. Under the ordinance, public safety officials can only assist ICE with a warrant signed by a judge or if ICE communicates the situation poses a clear danger to the public. Immigr ant advocates said the ordinance would alleviate fear and strengthen relationships with local law enforcement. Those against the ordinance said efforts should be focused on the federal level.

"This is not just something that happened over night," Jesús Ibañez, a law student at UofL, said. "We have been talking to politicians since February."

Ibañez, along with immigration advocacy group 'Mi Gente' have attended countless metro council meetings. Ibañez said videos of LMPD officers assisting ICE agents amplified the undocumented community's fear of police.

"They are failing to report crimes and living in their own personal hell," Ibañez said.

Councilman Brandon Coan was the lead author of the ordinance that bars all city employees including police from enforcing federal immigration law.

"The driving force behind this ordinance has to do with public safety services."In no way does this ordinance make Louisville a safe harbor for criminals." Coan said.

Councilwoman Angela Leet said she will be voting against the ordinance. She feels the ordinance is unnecessary and could compromise relationships between local and federal law enforcement.

"We need to go to the federal government and demand immigration reform at the federal level where we can actually fix the problem and not just make symbolic gestures," Councilwoman Leet said.

As a child of immigr ants, Ibañez said the ordinance is not enough to be considered sanctuary, but it's a big step.

"Those who are undocumented were willing to sacrifice their lives and everything they knew, just to have a small portion of the American dream," Ibañez said.

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