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National City Becomes a ‘Compassionate Community’

June 19, 2017

By Mario A. Cortez

National City has taken up the defense of its migrant communities through a new City resolution.

The City Council of National City unanimously voted to become a “Compassionate Community” during a special Council meeting held on Monday night, this in an effort to calm fears among the local immigrant population.

The “Compassionate Community” resolution, authored by National City Vice Mayor Albert Mendivil, was one of two resolutions presented at the meeting.

Although the proclamation does not alter any City ordinances, it does adopt practices to keep local funds and resources from being used by federal agencies for immigration purposes, such as checkpoints, probes, or sweeps.

Several members of the community were present to voice support for a resolution protecting immigrants in this South Bay city.

“This is when we must speak up and say that this is a country that continues to embrace immigrants and refugees, and by promoting these two resolutions you are doing that,” said Christian Ramirez, director of Alliance San Diego, during the meeting’s public comments segment.

The adoption of such a measure is rather timely, as local residents have demanded some type of protection from City leaders on the subject of immigration agencies targeting people who live in National CIty.

The mid-May detention of Francisco and Rosenda Duarte, two undocumented National City residents, sparked outrage from community members and human rights organizations. The couple’s arrest left their eldest son, 19-year-old Francisco Duarte Jr., as the caretaker of his three underage siblings.

The new resolution also comes after a lawsuit brought forth through the Brown Act. The lawsuit was filed after National City Mayor Ron Morrison introduced a modified version of the “Welcoming City” proclamation with changes made to the language which were not reflected in the resolution available to public during a Council meeting held back in February.

The vote to adopt the resolution was received with loud applause from those in attendance.

“This is the beginning of many things,” said Councilmember Alejandra Sotelo-Solis to La Prensa San Diego after the special meeting. “(The resolution) is part of a bigger effort to show that our community is about empowering our residents regardless of their status.”

National City Mayor Ron Morrison shared his thoughts on the new designation.

“There are a lot of labels and viewpoints in regards to ‘welcoming cities’ and at the same time they go under an organization which gets to speak for you. As a ‘Compassionate City’ we have our own term and we get to speak for ourselves. This is what National City stands for,” said Morrison. “We came up with something that made sense to many parties and I think you saw that tonight.”

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