Northampton City Council condemns US immigration policy

  • 07-14-03. Northampton. Digital image #7977. City Hall in Northampton. For files. Charles Abel photo. GAZETTE STAFF

Published: 6/25/2018 9:31:06 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The City Council has passed a resolution strongly condemning the immigration policy of the Trump administration.

Passage occurred at the council’s Thursday meeting, and featured strong words of condemnation from both members of the public who spoke in support of the resolution, and from members of the City Council.

The policy of separating children from their parents, which President Trump rescinded last week, drew sharp condemnation at the meeting.

“It’s un-American,” said Kenneth Richard Pratt, a Navy veteran, who spoke in favor of the resolution. “I did not go to ’Nam for this.”

The resolution condemns the administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, the policy of separating immigrant children from their parents when they cross the Mexican border illegally, the new policy of imprisoning immigrant children alongside their detained parents, and calls for the reunification of families who have been affected by the child separation policy, as well as restitution for them.

“This is a resolution that really speaks for itself,” said Ward 7 Councilor Alisa Klein, one of the sponsors.

The first version of the resolution was written before Trump issued an executive order reversing the child separation policy, and it was amended prior to the council’s vote to reflect that.

“I just think it’s important to speak as loudly as we can about this,” said Ward 4 Councilor Gina-Louise Sciarra, a sponsor who rejected Trump’s executive order as a solution.

Ward 6 Councilor Marianne LaBarge, another of the resolution’s sponsors, also rejected the executive order, characterizing it as “family incarceration.”

She also characterized the child separation policy as among the most shameful episodes in United States history.

“I find it to be child abuse,” she said.

This was also an analogy used by Councilor-At-Large William Dwight.

“This is a wholesale, state-sponsored child abduction,” said Dwight, who also noted that a number of immigrant children taken from their parents at the border had been sent into the foster care system.

The council voted 8-0 in favor of the resolution, as Ward 5 Councilor David Murphy had to leave the meeting early.

The council’s also voted to have a second reading of the resolution at the meeting, which subsequently passed 8-0 as well. This was done in order to get the resolution out to the federal level sooner.

Although resolutions have no legal power, they do express the will of the council.

“I’m really glad that we went forward with the resolution,” said Sciarra, outside of the meeting.

She also said that it was important to mark a policy that she characterized as “particularly horrific.”

Bera Dunau can be reached at

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