Residents weigh in

"This is a great recommendation, but it's only that, it's a recommendation," city resident Armando Jimenez told council. "The government is broken. Most likely immigration reform won't pass.
Republicans and Democrats can't seem to work together."

Jimenez asked council if anything can be done locally, such as issuing identification cards or drivers licenses. Guridy said drivers licenses would be a state issue, but Jimenez said other cities issue local IDs.

Schweyer doesn't know if cities the size of Allentown have the ability "to pass our own IDs," but doesn't believe they do. "I know we don't have the right to pass our own driver's licenses."

Schweyer asked City Clerk Michael Hanlon to look into that legal question.

Guridy said the only thing that can be done locally is making sure city police are trained to not follow recommendations of U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The resolution recommends rejecting immigration detainer agreements between local police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

It also recommends "full and free communication between police and all members of the community, regardless of English language ability."

City resident Fernando Vazquez claimed some city police officers still are doing racial profiling. He said on Tuesday police stopped a car with four occupants, all people who work in the city and had committed no crime.

Vazquez said on another occasion a friend who was a passenger in a car involved in an accident was deported, though he also had committed no crime.

Vazquez said people should not have to fear the police and what the city is going to do to them.

Guridy said Allentown is not a perfect city, but is working to make things like racial profiling disappear.

Council's resolution declares Congressional inaction has created an immigration system that consists of "a dizzying array of policies and procedures."

Said Guridy: "It is our responsibility as citizens to at least say to our U.S. senators and our Congressman that we want this bill passed."

Copies of the resolution will be sent to U.S. Senators Robert Casey and Patrick Toomey, who represent Pennsylvania, and to U.S. Rep.
Charlie Dent, who represents the Lehigh Valley area.

Copies also will go to state Sen. Pat Brown and state Reps. Mike Schlossberg and Steve Samuelson, whose legislative districts include Allentown.

Guridy indicated state government also can take steps to spur immigration reforms.

Other business

Also during the meeting, council:

*Approved appointing one of its members to the Allentown-Lehigh County Commission to End Chronic Homelessness. Guridy immediately appointed Jeanette Eichenwald to serve on that commission, which will meet Monday.

Last week, the nine-member Lehigh County commissioners passed a similar resolution, allowing their president to also appoint one of them to the commission.

*Approved establishing a $500 penalty for the unauthorized removal of any official notice or placard placed on a property by a city official, "including but not limited to a notice posting a property as uninhabitable or being an illegal unit."

*Agreed to accept $575,000 in federal funds for safety improvements that will be made to Basin Street in the city.