Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz reacted quickly and angrily Monday to a blog post that incorrectly suggested the Cooperstown Board of Trustees voted to make the village a “sanctuary village.”
The post by Allotsego.com publisher Jim Kevlin on Monday with the headline, “Cooperstown Now ‘Sanctuary Village’” was denounced by Katz late Monday on social media and formally by the village in a press release on Tuesday morning.
The trustees voted unanimously late in their three-hour April meeting Monday at the village meeting room at 22 Main St. to approve a resolution to guarantee the rights for all residents of Cooperstown regardless of their immigration status.
Katz prefaced the vote, which received little discussion, as one that preserves Cooperstown’s resources while obeying federal laws.
“Of course, Cooperstown obeys federal laws,” Katz said Monday. “but we do not want to be delegated immigration authority. We just want to make sure our police chief or our police department are not signed up.”
Before the meeting had ended, the blog post had given the vote the “sanctuary city” tag, something Katz said could easily incite trouble for him or the village in this political climate. Within an hour of the original post, he had responded on social media.
“In response to national and international incidents, the village of Cooperstown steadfastly confirmed its dedication to the rights and dignity of all people,” Katz posted on social media Monday night. “In December 2016, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution condemning the use of violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric, and reaffirming the inalienable right of everyone in Cooperstown to live without fear and intimidation.
“Tonight (April 24, 2017), the Board of Trustees passed a second resolution reaffirming its commitment to civil rights and equal access to all village services, including police and fire protection. While incorrectly termed a ‘Sanctuary Law’ in the allotsego.com story online, what the resolution stated is that the village of Cooperstown will not avail itself of the opportunity to participate in the Delegation of Immigration Authority provided through Section 287 (g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (1996). The village has neither the resources nor the desire to designate local police to perform immigration law enforcement functions.”