Tension flared at a recent Brooklyn Park City Council meeting over a proposed resolution declaring support for refugees and immigrants, with some questioning whether it’s the appropriate response to recent anxiety in the city’s large immigrant community.
The resolution, offered at a Feb. 13 meeting by Council Member Susan Pha, was tabled in a 4-2 vote. It was written as a response to residents’ growing fears over President Donald Trump’s efforts to impose restrictions on immigration, said Pha, who came to the United States as a refugee.
The resolution offered support for “refugees, immigrants and Muslims” in Brooklyn Park, one of the state’s most diverse cities.
But city leaders were not of one mind about the resolution. Council Member Mark Mata said it lacked “teeth,” while Council Member Terry Parks said it excluded other groups that also face discrimination, including those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Mayor Jeff Lunde proposed tabling the resolution, giving city leaders time to solicit more community feedback.
Pha raised objections to waiting and said the goal of the resolution was to make a statement of solidarity, rather than bring forward policy or action items.
“The fact is when there are specific groups being targeted, we should speak out about that,” Pha said, sparking applause at the meeting. “We are the second most diverse city in the state of Minnesota, yet we are staying silent. That is not acceptable to me.”
The resolution will be reconsidered by the City Council sometime next month, Lunde said.