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10/10/2017 3:00:00 PM
Highland council takes stance against Charlottesville violence

Craig Lyons, Post-Tribune

The Highland Town Council on Monday took a stance against violence and hate groups in the wake of the incidents in Charlottesville, Va., but held off on taking a public position on immigration reform.

The council had a chance to review and approve two resolutions, one decrying violence and Charlottesville and a second repudiating the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The council didn't think it had taken enough time to study the DACA resolution and pulled it from the agenda.

Councilman Dan Vassar said he thinks it's fair that everyone agrees in condemning the events in Charlottesville.

"The town council, resolute in its support for the free speech rights of Americans, strongly asserts that we must avoid ignoring or appearing to tacitly condone the espousing of hate speech or violence, threatened or committed, by any groups seeking to commit acts of domestic terrorism against racial, ethnic and religious minorities or other classes of protected individuals as was the case in Charlottesville," the resolution read.

"It is the sense of the town council of the Town of Highland to repudiate, condemn, censure and rebuke while supremacists, Neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and any other group that espouse hate and works to undermine the very ideals of who we are as Americans," the resolution said. "It is the further sense of the town council of the Town of Highland to strongly denounce and reprove the acts of violence in Charlottesville as domestic terrorism."

Highland resident Terry Steagall commended the council for taking a stance and denouncing the events in Charlottesville.

"I think it reflects the morals and values of the community," Steagall said.

While the board had worked on the language of the Charlottesville resolution, the councilmen said they did not expect a DACA resolution to appear on Monday's agenda.

"That was a complete surprise to me," Vassar said.

The draft resolution decried the end of the DACA program and asked President Donald Trump to rescind his decision.

"It is the sense of the town council of the Town of Highland that the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is very unwise policy, absent compassion and abrogates the historic role of the United States, as a moral exemplar and place of high opportunity for persons of industry," the resolution said.

The council lent its endorsement to a "comprehensive and workable approach" to fixing the country's immigration policies, according to the resolution, and pushed for a more effective version of DACA that creates a pathway to citizenship or an extended residency.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in September the administration's decision to rescind DACA, giving a six-month time frame for Congress to draft its own immigration proposal.

Steagal said he thought it was important for the council to send a clear message its residents want to see a clean DACA bill.

"I don't see that happening," said Councilman Mark Herak.

Herak said DACA is a national issue and better suited for the congressional delegation and state leadership.

"That's not our board," Herak said.

Copyright 2017, Chicago Tribune

Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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