The Springfield City Council stalled on considering a resolution that would have declared it a "Welcome City" for immigrants. Seven members voted to table the issue - while only three supported a vote.
The resolution wouldn't go so far as to make Springfield a sanctuary city - a place where undocumented residents have a variety of spaces they can go where their status will supposedly not be questioned. Veronica Espina is a professor at the University of Illinois Springfield who has been advocating for the measure - she says it would let all immigrants know, regardless of status - they are valued. She says it's important to: "Honor people and their dignity and their contributions - to send a message to our immigrants and refugees in the city that we welcome them, that we understand their talent, that we want them to continue to be productive (community) members, and that we know that with them we are going to thrive."
The resolution would not be legally-binding. It's not clear when or if the council may take up the issue again. At least one resident who spoke against the resolution said she was fearful it would invite criminals to relocate to Springfield.
Welcoming America is a nation-wide initiative meant to help cities become welcoming ones. Espina says she was in part inspired by their efforts, and if the city does pass this resolution, it could potentially become a part of that system.