SEASIDE — The City Council endorsed an inclusivity resolution Monday night recognizing the contributions of immigrants, but resistance by two councilors led to an uneasy feeling among some in the Hispanic community.
While a majority supported the resolution in a 5-2 vote, City Councilor Seth Morrisey said it was ambiguous and intentionally vague.
Councilor Randy Frank called it political and unnecessary.
“I don’t understand why we have a resolution for this,” Frank said. “I’ve lived here 52 years. I went to school here. I don’t know of anybody being excluded on any basis. … I do know these inclusivity movements are part of a political alignment and this is what I object to.”
Minerva Moulin, of La Voz de la Comunidad, an advisory committee to the Lower Columbia Hispanic Council, said she was happy Seaside passed the inclusivity resolution, but would have been happier had the vote been unanimous.
While city councilors may feel safe and protected, many immigrants do not, resident Guadalupe Beltran added.
“We as part of the community want you to be in our shoes for a minute,” she said.
A show of support
Discussion of an inclusivity resolution began early this year when changes in federal immigration policy under President Donald Trump created heightened local awareness.
Advocates believe inclusivity resolutions allow cities to support and recognize the contributions of immigrants without getting drawn into the national clash with the Trump administration over immigration enforcement.
Seaside’s resolution is similar to ones adopted in Astoria, Cannon Beach, Gearhart and Warrenton.
Resolution 3903 recognizes the contribution of immigrants and refugees “of all nations” to the state as workers and taxpayers. Inclusion and integration “of all residents of Seaside is a vital concern for the general welfare of Seaside in all respects. … Every Seaside resident should be treated with compassion and respect regardless of national origin or citizenship status.”
The resolution does not make Seaside a sanctuary city, a designation some cities have adopted to shield immigrants from federal law enforcement.
“I think it affirms who we are as a community,” Mayor Jay Barber said Monday night.
During public comment, Moulin told city councilors that Seaside’s Hispanic community wants to “work hard and make sure our children are part of both cultures: the Spanish and the American cultures.”
Moulin thanked the city for putting the resolution to a vote.
“It will help us to continue to grow and prosper economically,” she said. “It’s simply a gesture, but I think it’s a really important way to show cities do support everyone in their community. Even though you say that you do, putting it on record is really important.”
Law or policy?
Along with Frank and Morrisey, Councilor Dana Phillips also questioned whether the inclusivity resolution was necessary in a city she said has always respected its immigrant population.
“I really believe we are an inclusive community already, and always have been,” Phillips said.
“Of course everyone up here respects immigrants, refugees and Hispanics,” Morrisey said. “That goes without saying.”
Councilor Tita Montero suggested a different perspective. “We sitting up here are white people,” Montero said. “We haven’t seen what happens in other places. None of us see it all.”
Barber, along with councilors Tom Horning and Steve Wright, joined Montero in speaking in favor of the inclusivity resolution. Phillips also voted in favor. Morrisey and Frank voted against it.