Applause is rare and usually discouraged at Boise City Council meetings.
On Tuesday, though, Mayor David Bieter allowed a crowd of a few dozen to rise to their feet and clap after the council unanimously passed a resolution proclaiming that Boise is “committed to being a Welcoming City and creating a community where all of our residents feel welcomed, safe, and able to fully participate in, and contribute to, our city’s economic and social life.”
“We urge all residents of Boise to do their part in reaching out and welcoming all those who live in and visit our great City,” states the resolution.
The resolution, a late addition to the agenda for Tuesday night’s regular meeting, does not make Boise a sanctuary city that resists federal immigration enforcement. In fact, it includes no policy directives.
“This is much more personal and meant in the spirit of kindness and acceptance than it is policy-driven,” said City Councilwoman Maryanne Jordan, who’s also state senator. “Sometimes, you just say something because it’s the right thing to say.”
Bieter, usually reserved during city meetings, summoned the strongest words of anyone Tuesday. He didn’t name Donald Trump, but he clearly was referring to the president’s executive orders on immigration and refugees when he spoke about the importance of the city’s proclamation.
“It’s been a tough week or 10 days in this country. And frankly, it’s been embarrassing and disgusting at times,” Bieter said. “This is a re-affirmation of who we are and what we are as a city.”
COMMENTS START AT THE 8:30 MARK IN THIS VIDEO.
Councilwoman Lauren McLean was the resolution’s primary author. She said the idea for it came about over the weekend, after Trump’s orders made headlines. She said the council has heard from residents who are frightened about what will happen to them or their loved ones if the political winds continue to blow as they are.
McLean said now is “time for us to call on our better angels.”
“Being a welcoming city is so important because it adds to the richness of the fabric of this place,” she said during Tuesday’s meeting.
McLean also released a statement Monday in which she raised concerns about a bill introduced in the Idaho Legislature that seeks to strip state sales tax money from cities that adopt sanctuary stances. She pointed to Boise’s history as a landing place for immigrants, many of whom were fleeing religious persecution. In 2012, McLean and Jordan teamed up to write a city law that prohibits firing people, kicking them out of their homes and refusing to serve them in public places because of their sexual orientation or identity.