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Pho to by Ala n Pog u e Sanctuary State AFTER NEW MEXICO Governor Tony Anaya sent a special assistant to speak before the Austin City Council on the issue of sanctuary and Republican gubernatorial candidate Kent Hance came forward with his position on aliens, Governor Mark White let it be known that he, too, had something to say on the issue. Quoted in the Dallas Morning News, White urged Austin’s councilmembers to vote no on the city-ofsanctuary resolution. “I wish the Austin City Council would spend more time timing their [traffic] lights,” White said. He added, “We’re not going to have 5,000 municipalities in Texas out there making immigration policy.” Hance, who ran a xenophobic campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1984, claimed that he would again make immigration an issue. Were he governor, Hance would consider cutting off state funds to cities declaring sanctuary. Anaya’s representative, Steve Cobble, cited Proverbs, urging council members to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” On behalf of Governor Anaya, who on Good Friday had declared the state of New Mexico a “Sanctuary State,” Cobble urged the council to pass its own sanctuary resolution. L.D. questioned a Lutheran minister and former lawyer from El Salvador about the circumstances that led to his fleeing his country. hearing that the minister had been imprisoned fifteen times, Cooksey asked him to elaborate on his personal history, then followed with a series of questions about the policies of the Duarte government. But for most of the four hours of testimony, the chair was deferential, particularly to the radiotalk-show variety of right-wing crazies, one of whom promised to personally track down Austin refugees, should the resolution be adopted. Cooksey also noted that, although speakers at the podium alternated for and against sanctuary, proponents on the speakers list outnumbered opponents by a two-to-one margin. What then, happened between April 10 and April 17, when the hearing was scheduled to resume? Council members say they were under considerable pressure from constituents on both sides of 8 MAY 16, 1986 Citizen addressing Austin City Council. the issue. Prior to the April 10 meeting, Councilmembers Mark Rose and Dr. Charles Urdy not part of the recently elected progressive slate had come out against the resolution. Rose questioned whether the city should be involved in immigration affairs, and Urdy, the only black on the council, seemed to be responding to constituent concerns about housing and employment. During the April 10 hearing, he admitted that he just didn’t understand the complex issue that the city was taking on. The mayor had earlier announced that he might withdraw the resolution if he couldn’t win a unanimous vote from the council. But after squaring off with Casillas and four other immigration officers on April 10, the mayor appeared determined to bring the issue to a vote. Cooksey, who later described INS agents as participants in “a conspiracy of pettiness within government” also seemed to have been swayed by the arguments of sanctuary proponents, particularly the testimony of Rev. Figueroa. How then to explain the mayor’s decision to withdraw the resolution? Before he announced his decision, Cooksey spoke for some fifteen minutes, further distancing himself from sanctuary opposition, describing the motives of many of them as “base and baseless” and characterizing some of them as superpatriots to whom “Mother Theresa would be a conspirator.” Cooksey also responded to Governor Mark White’s suggestion that “the Austin City Council spend more time timing their [traffic] lights.” Some objections have been raised to this resolution. First, that it is not a city’s business. Evidently the people who have raised that objection do not understand the town hall tradition in the United States. It’s a great tradition, a tradition of discussing political issues of national, state, and local importance at the local level, in town meetings. . . . These people evidently think that we’re not taking care of traffic while we’re doing this. For those who have some confusion about that, I would refer them to something already taken care of, on tonight’s agenda, on page eight. By which we did take care of traffic signals, quite well, in the city of Austin. And we’ll be glad to take care of any of the traffic needs of any of you whether of high or low estate. Later he took the INS officials to task, for using such terms as “dumping on our doorsteps,” describing them as officials who had disgraced themselves, Cooksey reaffirmed his belief in the principle of sanctuary and announced that, because he was informed that there was divided support for the resolution on the council, he had decided to withdraw it. Asked if the resolution had been withdrawn because the votes on the council weren’t there, Cooksey responded that “to discuss it would betray the confidence of my other council members.” However, Councilmembers George Humphrey, Sally Shipman, and SmootCarl Mitchell, a majority of those present, all responded that they would have voted for the resolution had it been put to the question. John Trevino, who missed the meeting because of illness, had been described as a solid supporter of the sanctuary resolution. But a source close to city hall claimed that Trevino was the only councilman