Summerville Town Councilman Walter Bailey proposed an ordinance that would ban illegal immigrants from working or renting in the town. In a town council meeting last night, the council voted 4-3 to table the ordinance.
The meeting didn’t go as well as I had anticipated. There was a motion granted to table the ordinance, to severe it, to cut out the rental portion of it and leave in tact the business license portion. That passed by one vote, and then I went ahead and made a motion to go ahead with that first reading just on the business license portion of it since the other one had already been killed off by the majority of council.
Bailey says the council did not agree on the inclusion of the rental portion because of a fear of litigation.
The reason behind it was that there were threats of lawsuits by the ACLU and some Latino advocacy groups and they basically intimidated a majority of the council into thinking that this was going to cost a small portion in attorney’s fees, so that was the motivation.
Bailey was disappointed by the move.
I thought it was the right thing to do, it was something we should do. If we allow outside groups to set policy with the town by intimidating the town, bullying the town, threatening lawsuits, then we are not reacting to it as a council, we are just reacting to the pressure groups.
Since Bailey proposed the ordinance, Summerville has received quite a bit of attention, even in national headlines. Bailey says it’s good to get the word out, but that wasn’t the point.
I think the only win would be if the thing passed, but it certainly is helpful to draw attention to it. It’s a problem that should be addressed by the federal government. They are sitting on their behinds and not doing anything about it. So, I think state municipalities have to step up to the plate and do something about it if anything is going to get done.
Although it’s a state law already to require business licenses, preventing illegal immigrants from working in the state, Bailey says town council will take that portion of the bill up next month.