Citing a need for the city to fight hatred and racism, Mayor Kelly Kirschner introduced a proclamation opposing an Arizona-style immigration bill in Tallahassee.
“Twenty percent of our population is Hispanic,” said Kirschner. “There is palpable fear among citizens by the language and tone of this bill.”
The commission voted 3-2 to oppose the bill put forth by Florida Sen. Mike Bennett, which requires police to ask someone they legally stopped or arrested if they are American citizens.
The commission also endorsed the Florida Compact, which seeks to keep immigration a federal issue, keep law enforcement focused on more serious criminal activity and acknowledge immigrants’ role in the U.S. economy.
Commissioners Dick Clapp and Terry Turner voted against the measure, saying it was not a city issue.
“I’m not comfortable with this commission taking a position on this issue,” Turner said. “It’s a complex national issue. I think it would be irresponsible to take a position on an issue this complex.”
Kirschner told the two commissioners it would be irresponsible not to oppose the immigration bill.
“For us to remain silent and indifferent on this is not acceptable,” he said.
Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].