Angry residents this week condemned Naperville City Councilman Josh McBroom for his proposed immigrant housing registration form, saying his actions were disingenuous, self-serving and politically motivated.
More than half of the public comment portion of Tuesday’s City Council meeting was taken up by those who wanted to punish McBroom for his proposal: city creates registry for Naperville residents looking to host immigrants -an idea he admitted was deliberately “provocative”.
city manager Doug Krieger ultimately directed staff to stop researching the idea It wasn’t until it became known that other institutions were doing similar studies, but not before the idea gained national attention. In addition to social media posts that have gone viral, McBroom has been interviewed by various media outlets, including The New York Times and Fox News.
His critics didn’t have much to say about McBroom’s actions.
“We don’t need our City Council to engage in highly partisan activity to further their own interests and get their 15 seconds of fame,” Naperville resident Tim Thompson said, adding that, contrary to McBroom’s claim, it “doesn’t hold up one bit.” sincerity.”
Dianne McGuire, co-founder of Indivisible Naperville and former president of the Naperville County Democratic Organization, called McBroom a “trickster and national media pundit.”
Lynn Gosselin of Naperville said the entire incident was “an endless political spectacle that continues to denigrate the city and its residents.”
But McBroom stood by his idea. He told the Naperville Sun after Tuesday’s meeting that he had “no regrets.”
“I would do it over and over again,” he said.
At the Jan. 16 council meeting where he introduced the initial proposal, McBroom emphasized that Naperville should not use taxpayer money to host or assist immigrants; instead, he suggested the city create a registration form for local households looking to host immigrant families. There was enough support from the council to direct city staff to look at the idea.
After the idea was shelved, McBroom said no one reached out to him to say they were interested in hosting an immigrant.
He made the same point in a letter he sent to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last week, in which he praised Abbott’s decision to bus immigrants to sanctuary cities like Chicago. He said the housing registry idea was a way to address the position of “my fellow Democrats who support the flow of immigrants” coming into the country, but did not step in to help or show “compassion” for the problems posed by an open border policy. produces.
Naperville resident Meena Banasiak chided McBroom for jumping to conclusions based on the fact that no one had personally contacted her about the sign-up page idea.
“It was surprising to hear a council member declare with unfounded belief that Naperville residents are hypocrites about supporting people in need because they will not sign a form that does not exist,” Banasiak said.
He said McBroom’s actions and words were “self-serving” and “tarnished the reputation, values, and mission of this city.”
In his letter to Abbott, McBroom said he wanted to clarify his intention to make the offer.
“I admit my offer was provocative, but it was sincere,” he said in his letter to Abbott. “Many of my colleagues and residents are quick to support the idea of welcoming and supporting immigrants, but no one is willing to invite them.” to their own homes. My testimony proved that.”
McBroom’s dismissal increased assurances Tuesday that there are people and organizations in Naperville involved in immigrant aid and support.
Naperville-based Latinos Motivating Action Alliance in the Suburbs (ALMAS) has been vocal in its commitment to engaging and educating community members about local immigrant arrivals and outreach, organization founder and Vice President Laura Navarro said at the council meeting.
“We spread accurate and compassionate information to counter common narratives of racism, xenophobia and fear mongering,” Navarro said.
Following McBroom’s suggestion, a newly formed coalition called Naperville Compassion Action worked with the Christian humanitarian organization World Relief to raise money for local immigrant families and publicize ways to donate supplies to help them, Naperville resident Tony Andrews said.
Other criticisms were directed at McBroom’s behavior on social media following last month’s council meeting. McBroom shared himself on the “Josh McBroom Naperville City Council” Facebook account and reposted media reports about the registration page idea. He also used the same account to respond to other online comments about his proposal.
He once responded to a “Republican Voters for Naperville” Facebook page comment: “Don’t you have an illegal human sign in your yard? Great, there’s a registration page here. Prove to me you’re not a hypocrite. They won’t. You know it and I know it too. Most people do.” “He saw it and loved it. But it’s too bad so many people can’t see the nuance in it.”
Several speakers Tuesday said they believed McBroom’s social media use was not in compliance with city ordinances.
The Naperville Municipal Code states that city council members “may choose to post and/or comment on various social media sites using their personal accounts” and recommends that “the content and substance of online comments and information sharing should model the same etiquette exhibited during City Council.” meetings.”
According to City Attorney Mike DiSanto, interpretation and enforcement of this provision is within the council’s authority and discretion. He added that none of the city’s eight council members operate a social media account.
Shannon Adcock, founder of the Naperville-based conservative group Awake Illinois, made one of the only statements supporting McBroom’s proposal. The former vice president of Awake Illinois thanked McBroom for “shedding much-needed light on an important issue: open borders,” adding that open borders are “fake compassion.”
Councilman Ian Holzhauer weighed in, comparing the situation to “an ongoing reality TV show.”
“Sometimes it’s fascinating, dramatic and you can’t stop watching,” he said. “But what are we achieving?”
Councilwoman Allison Longenbaugh, who called McBroom’s proposal a “demonstration,” likewise lamented its impact on the council’s actions and the city’s reputation.
“We reached this delicate balance, and it took a lot of work to do it, and then that balance… was shattered. And for what?” he said. “To score some political points and make a mockery of the humanitarian crisis. And that makes me sad.
“As far as I knew, I was on the Naperville team, and I sincerely thought everyone else was too.”
Councilwoman Jennifer Bruzan Taylor implored her colleagues to “be wary of criticism” and instead “get back to work.”
As for McBroom, he assured, “This is not a joke to me.”
“You may not like my proposal. You may not like my intentions. But my goal is purely to protect our public safety and our public resources,” he said. “And I’m sorry if I’m the only one who had the courage to start this conversation.”
Naperville Mayor Scott Wehrli said after Tuesday’s meeting that he has no plans to bring anything to the council regarding local response to newcomers.
“So far, we have not been asked to do anything about anyone coming from our city,” he said.
Six buses carrying immigrants since Dec. 21 dropped off passengers at the Metra station in downtown Naperville, where they then boarded a train to Chicago, according to city spokeswoman Linda LaCloche. She said that as far as she knew, no one had been in the city this week since the beginning of the year.