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Woodford County Board tables non-sanctuary resolution

The Woodford County Courthouse in Eureka, Ill.
Tim Shelley
Peoria Public Radio
The Woodford County Courthouse in Eureka.

Woodford County is not declaring itself a non-sanctuary county just yet.

On Tuesday evening, county board members voted to table a resolution that would declare Woodford County as a non-sanctuary county for migrants in the country illegally.

Board member David Meinhold called for the resolution to be tabled after some residents raised concerns during public comment. While not getting into specifics in the resolution, he said more discussion about the process is needed with Woodford County State’s Attorney Greg Minger and Sheriff Matt Smith.

“We had [the resolution] go through public safety, and I think we need to get more involvement from the entire board in terms of input,” Meinhold said.

The resolution drew residents on both sides of the issue to the meeting. Dale Dalton, a resident who spoke in favor of the resolution, said it’s a solid effort toward tackling illegal immigration.

“We need an organized and orderly and lawful process,” Dalton said. “I think It would be wrong for us to continue to encourage illegal immigration by providing more aid here in Woodford County, and that does not mean I don’t have any concern for immigrants. I do.”

The majority of residents who spoke up opposed the resolution. Karla Bailey-Smith, president of the Central Illinois chapter of the ACLU and a former Democratic candidate for state representative, openly condemned the resolution and said the effort was playing politics with migrants.

“Framing your resolution under the guise of fiscal responsibility for Woodford County does not mask the intentions to vilify and denigrate people who are being used as political pawns,” Bailey-Smith said.

Mike Smith is an correspondent with WCBU in Peoria. He joined the station in 2023.