The momentum some concerned citizens had hoped to start with a resolution making Mobile a sanctuary city, was quashed before it began.
Africatown resident Albert Terry submitted the resolution to his representative, Councilman Levon Manzie, after speaking to the council last week. Terry argued that approving the resolution he drafted would help make Mobile a more inclusive city.
“I hope the concept of One Mobile extends beyond the boundaries of Spring Hill,” he told councilors.
Tracey Glover said the city has no obligation to assist the federal government in deportations.
Further, she said approving the resolution would show compassion and prevent law-abiding residents from living in fear.
After hearing from Terry, Glover and another proponent of the resolution not officially introduced on the meeting agenda, City Council President Gina Gregory informed them that the city has no authority over the issue.
City Attorney Ricardo Woods said a portion of Alabama’s 2011 immigration law that survived court challenges stipulates that arresting officers in municipalities must request the immigration status of detainees and follow other federal mandates related to immigration. Since the city doesn’t have home rule, Woods said the council is bound by the law and couldn’t change it.
The request, therefore, would require a change in state or federal law, Woods said — meaning the proponents of the resolution would have to petition the legislature.
Even before the meeting, councilors had discussed the issue and determined Tuesday’s meeting would be the last one in which they allowed speakers to bring up the topic.
Gregory said while council rules allow speakers for non-agenda items that pertain to city business, it could restrict future speakers on the issue because the city had no authority over it.
In other business, the council approved by a 6-1 vote three contracts for improvements at Hank Aaron Stadium. Councilwoman Bess Rich was the dissenter on each, citing the BayBears back rent as her reason for opposition. The council approved a $24,994 contract with BPM Construction for ticket booth insulation, a $23,500 contract with Net Connections, Inc. for new stand netting and a $12,040 contract with Vision Integration for audio improvements.
Councilman Joel Daves said he views the improvements and the BayBears back rent as two separate issues, adding that the city is simply maintaining a facility it owns. Whether the baseball team that leases that facility pays rent, Daves said should have nothing to do with it.
The council also approved two contracts with Wrico Signs — one for $18,840 and another for $10,885 — for improvements to the existing wall sign that reads “Alabama Cruise Terminal” and the addition of “Mobile,” respectively.
The council also approved a $451,715 contract with CBRE for facilities condition assessment and development consulting services.