Jackson Co., IL board votes no on safe, welcoming county resolution

JACKSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - The Jackson County, Illinois board voted no with a 6 to 6 vote on a controversial resolution during the monthly board meeting on Tuesday, July 18.

The resolution will not pass.

The meeting was packed with standing room only as both sides took turns stating their reasoning. After more than 10 people spoke, the commission then shared their thoughts on why they were voting for or against the resolution.

Some were interrupted while speaking, others had boo's and clapping after they finished

It was a very energetic room and after, some of the citizens shared their thoughts on the resolution failing.

"I have a family and I have children and a husband… and if we would not have felt safe and we would not have been welcome in this county then I would not be here talking to you," Jackson County resident, Gloria Campos said.

Another citizen, Joshua Hellmann shared his disappointment.

"Well I was very disappointed with the eventual outcome because this resolution would have been a good way to push back against the fear hatred and unreason that's enveloping out country," Hellmann said.

One person was escorted out of the meeting before the vote was taken for interrupting the commissioners while they were talking and people from both sides of the arguments showed their frustration after the other side was done talking

One commissioner suggested that the resolution be re-looked at because they believe that it was misleading and that's part of the reason she voted it down.

The resolution sought to establish Jackson County as a "safe and welcoming county" regardless of citizenship or immigration status.

Jackson County State's Attorney sent a revised version of the resolution that does not limit law enforcement from doing their job; however, according to Jackson County's website, the resolution still reflects Section 5 which reads:

SECTION 5. No county departments or their personnel in Jackson County shall inquire into the immigration status of residents or condition the provision of county benefits, opportunities or services on matters related to citizenship or immigration status unless required to do so by state or federal law or by a court order.

Even though in opposition to this original resolution, County Board member, Emily Burke, explained what the "revised" resolution would have meant for the county.

"While some of us will say, you know, this is kind of a offspring of this sanctuary document, when you take out the portions that keep law enforcement from doing their job, it's really a very simple document that celebrate citizenship," Burke said. "And we would go a step further by saying we would offer technical support to people that would like to immigrate here."

According to New American Economy, Illinois District 12, which consists of most of the southern counties in Illinois, has over 17,000 residents are immigrants, which is 2 percent of the population. NAE explained the necessity of immigrants to the population, they contribute more than $122 million in annual taxes just in the District 12.

In addition, Burke mentioned the significance to of the international student population at SIU.

She said Jackson County has significant enrollment of international students and the resolution will defend policies that welcome and protect immigrants.

The resolution voted on can be found here.

The meeting was held at 6 p.m. at the Jackson County courthouse in Murphysboro, Ill.

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