Northampton mayor to create order on immigrants - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Northampton mayor to create order on immigrants

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During a meeting held Thursday night by the Northampton Trust Coalition, both Mayor David Narkewicz and Police Chief Russell Sienkiwicz said that immigration is a federal issue that is failing, leading to an impact at the city level.

The mayor said he wants immigrants, whether they have proper paperwork or not, to feel safe in his city.

One by one, immigrants stood in front of a packed room at First Churches Northampton, informing Narkewicz of their issues.

The group's pastor said those testimonials made an impact.

"I think that when he heard the testimony, he saw the people who spoke from the heart, it's not something that they invented," said Pastor David Ortega. "They deal with this everyday."

Organizers wanted Narkewicz to hear the stories and urge him to assure the residents that police would not be turning immigrants over to federal authorities.

After being questions by the organizers, Narkewicz agreed to the executive order.

He told CBS 3 that under the city charter, he presides over agencies like the police.

"What I'm hearing today from the organizers is that they want me to move forward and then have the city council endorse what it is that I do," said Narkewicz.

Ortega said it was a reason for his group to celebrate.

"We can put it like a victory, because it's more safety for them," said Ortega.

Narkewicz agreed, saying anyone in his city should feel safe to go to the police no matter the situation, but the law is still the law.

"Obviously, if people commit crimes in our city, we will prosecute them whether they're immigrant or not an immigrant," said Narkewicz. "It really comes down to these administrative orders that have become so controversial."

Narkewicz said the executive order should be ready next week and, for the most part, it will list rules that the police are supposed to already follow.

Even with it in place, the mayor stressed he still wants to work with the city council, as they have been debating an immigrant resolution.

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