SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio -- City Council, on Monday, unanimously passed a resolution "strongly objecting" to President Donald Trump's Jan. 27 executive order temporarily restricting entry into the United States citizens of seven countries, and also declaring South Euclid to be a "Welcoming City."
South Euclid joins Cleveland Heights, Cleveland and Beachwood in passing such a resolution. Trump issued the order as a means to better vet citizens of Muslim-majority countries his administration sees as potential terrorist threats to the U.S. Those countries include Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan and Syria.
Before a vote was taken on the resolution, introduced by Councilman Marty Gelfand, council heard from six members of the public who supported the action.
Each of the speakers told of the value of immigrants to the U.S., and several spoke of having worked with refugees and immigrants, helping them to settle in the area.
Resident Gayle Horwitz told of helping for the past year to settle in the area Ugandan refugees who came to this country in January, 2016. She said that refugees are good for the local economy and that the ban is "morally wrong."
"We need to stand against discrimination," said Horwitz, a South Euclid resident who is the daughter of Beachwood City Council President Martin Horwitz, who was also in attendance. "The executive order discriminates on the basis of religion. This type of discrimination is not something we want to tolerate in any form."
Rev. Christine Eggert, formerly pastor at Disciples Christian Church in Cleveland Heights, said she worked while at the church with many of the Bhutanese refugees who came to the South Euclid-Cleveland Heights area beginning in 2006.
She called the ban "unlawful and un-American." Eggert said that to help those from other countries is to take to heart "the Gospel teaching to open our hearts to strangers in our midst."
Shaker Heights resident Keith Wilson said he was present to represent a group trying to get a similar resolution passed in his home city, and by the county, with hopes of making Ohio a sanctuary state for immigrants.
"This is a battle for values," he said. "Inclusion is under attack."
"The leadership in Washington is affecting all Americans," Gelfand said. "Part of our job is to speak up, to speak up for the 22,000 people in South Euclid.
"I think we have a system to vet people," he continued. "I don't think we need a a blanket ban. It's ugly, it's hate-filled and we should say no. We should stand up when injustice is being done.
"America is a place where people have traditionally been able to come and to be welcomed. We need to be open to people who need a place to go."
Ward 1 Councilwoman Ruth Gray said her family has recently welcomed new members from other countries.
"My personal family is impacted by this (issue), my community is impacted by this," she said.
Gray added that it is sometimes necessary to stand up and say, "I'm in for a good fight, let's get it on."
"This seems to be a religious litmus test and that's what's most anathema to the American way of life," Council president Jane Goodman said.
Goodman, after all council members took a turn stating the reason for their support for the resolution, stated, "I never cried at a council meeting, but your testimony took me there."
Gelfand said that the resolution is not to be confused with legislation to make South Euclid a sanctuary city, in which unauthorized aliens are welcomed and not prosecuted for violating immigration laws.
"That's a whole different issue involving immigration," Gelfand said, adding that such a step would involve meetings among council members, SEPD Chief Kevin Nietert and Mayor Georgine Welo, as well as consideration about the possible loss of funding.
Gelfand said he does not have plans to pursue sanctuary city legislation.
On Feb. 6, State Treasurer Josh Mandel, of Lyndhurst, and State Rep. Candice Miller, of Middletown, announced legislation to stop sanctuary cities in Ohio. The legislation would hold leaders of sanctuary cities criminally and civilly liable for crimes committed by illegal aliens in sanctuary cities.The city of South Euclid's centennial logoCity of South Euclid
In other South Euclid news, the city has adopted a new logo commemorating its centennial year, which is being observed in 2017.
With the assistance of Studio Graphique, the city's Centennial Committee decided on the use of a colorful pinwheel theme. The committee noted that the logo's colors represent South Euclid's diversity and commitment to being progressive and inclusive.
The pinwheel design is meant to honor Charles F. Brush, the inventor of the world's first automatically operated wind turbine generator. The pinwheel also signifies the city's commitment to sustainability and the generation of creative energy.
The logo will be used during 2017 on city letterheads, promotional materials and other places.
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