Two abstain in official immigration resolve in Rockland

Rockland resolves solidarity with immigrant families

Posted:  Monday, July 9, 2018 - 9:30pm
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ROCKLAND – Though the reported inhumane treatment of immigrant families at the nation’s southern borders is deemed reprehensible by many Rocklanders, including Councilor Ed Glaser, a resolve stating such a sentiment has no place in government, according to him.

Or does it?

Monday, July 9, during the regular monthly council meeting in Council Chambers, three councilors voted unanimously in favor of Resolve #36: Affirming solidarity with immigrant families; urging the Trump Administration and Department of Homeland Security to take immediate action to reunite families separated under its zero-tolerance policy; and to work to implement a new immigration policy that does not create irreparable harm.

The item had been added prior to the July 2 agenda-setting meeting, and took the place of other items that were postponed.

Glaser was one of the voters, despite reminding other councilors that the resolve doesn’t actually do anything. Despite reminding them that the resolve’s author is unknown, and despite reminding them that a previous resolve took several months and several workshops before agreed upon language could be reached.

Glaser asked for postponement of the resolve that Councilors Adam Ackor and Lisa Westkaemper both abstained from voting on. The resolve’s sponsor, Councilor Amelia Magjik, did not want to wait another month.

“To me, it’s important to respond to this crisis as it’s occurring,” she said. “I believe in it as a humanitarian issue....These are just statements that represent morals and ethics that are deeply rooted in myself as a person, and I feel that they are deeply rooted in the community here in Rockland.”

For Mayor Valli Geiger, the national news reports of the border situation have caused her sleepless nights. The babies who are not allowed to be held. The children who are finally returned to parents, dirty and lice-ridden.

But then there’s the national government’s actions that are affecting Maine. According to Geiger, other states have refused to send National Guard members to assist with border patrol. Maine’s governor volunteered two National Guard members and a helicopter.

Geiger said that two news sources reported a Border Patrol 11-hour checkpoint on I-95 in Lincoln. They asked drivers and passengers about their citizen status and brought in drug-sniffing dogs. A Border Patrol office in Bangor has allegedly expressed desire in building a bigger holding facility. Passengers at Bangor’s Concord Trailways bus station were questioned about their immigration status.

Geiger asked, are we going to be known as a community that said nothing?

Magjik said: “I feel that I have been accepted as an outsider. I feel that Rockland is one of the friendliest places that I’ve ever lived. And I feel that there is a great, and sometimes overwhelming, sense of compassion here.

“This resolve speaks strongly to, and of, and for Rockland,” she said.

 

Reach Sarah Thompson at news@penbaypilot.com