Say ‘Yes’ to Madison’s Welcoming Community Resolution

MADISON – In a joint prepared statement, Democratic candidates for Madison Borough Council, Council President Carmela Vitale and John Hoover express their full support for Madison’s Welcoming Community Resolution.

“This is an important resolution for the community – even more so now than in February,” the candidates stated. “The resolution reaffirms ‘Madison’s commitment to equal, respectful and dignified treatment of all people, regardless of their immigration status.’ It ‘reminds us that ‘the Borough of Madison has long embraced and welcomed individuals of diverse racial, ethnic, religious and national backgrounds,’ and ‘that for over a century, Madison has been a welcoming community to immigrants.’

As early as 1909, the Thursday Morning Club opened a room on North Street to serve as a recreation and medical center for Madison’s growing immigrant community. This was soon followed in 1911 by a 10-room home on Main Street and ultimately, by the 1925 opening of the for Madison’s growing immigrant community. ‘Settlement House’ on Cook Avenue, now known as the Community House. Quoting from Madison Heritage Trail, ‘These Madison women early realized that a trained nurse was sorely needed to minister to the poor and needy, especially among those immigrants who flocked to Madison with the growth of the rose industry and during the strenuous work of elevating the railroad tracks…’”

Council President Vitale stated, “I voted for the resolution and I am proud of my vote. As the mayor stated at the April town hall meeting, our intention was to ensure that Madison residents will never ‘be prejudged by their color, accent or religion nor how long they have lived here’ when requesting borough services. We don’t want any resident to be afraid to ask for help. The resolution ‘protects those who might live in sub-standard housing and would like to come forward to seek help.’ It also ‘confirms that anyone seeking help from our police department can do so without the fear of consequences or retribution. This makes our community safer for everyone.’”

“Critics have claimed that the resolution defines Madison as a declared ‘sanctuary city,’ which would put Madison in jeopardy of losing federal aid,” stated Mr. Hoover. “Our borough attorney has assured us that that the resolution does not make Madison a sanctuary city. The resolution clearly states that ‘Nothing in this resolution shall be construed or implemented to conflict with any obligation imposed by federal or state statutes, applicable regulations and directives of the New Jersey attorney general and the Morris County Prosecutor.’”

“A few of the critics have predicted that Madison as a Welcoming Community might well attract ‘individuals that ‘pose risks to our residents’ health, safety, security or borough finances.’” added Ms. Vitale. “After seven months, the only incident that they point to is the recent robbery hoax; however, the alleged perpetrator was already a ten-year resident of the borough. And here the process worked; the individual was jailed and then turned over to immigration authorities.

The Welcoming Community Resolution states very specifically that ‘no department, employee or official of the Borough of Madison shall condition the provision of borough services or benefits on matters related to citizenship or immigration status’ nor shall they ‘take part in the registration of individuals based on religion, race, ethnicity, or national origin.’ This is how it should be. We take care of all Madisonians.

One of our opponents in this election recently complained that the council had not modified the resolution in response to objections raised by what has been a small group of vocal critics: ‘You stonewalled us on all our comments, observations, and suggestions for the resolution.’ But as John Hoover recently reminded us, ‘What we saw this spring was a great example of how democracy works. Of the approximately 150 attendees at the April town hall meeting, the overwhelming majority spoke in support for the resolution and those who didn’t were able to share their thoughts and even have their concerns addressed by the Borough attorney in a follow up meeting.’”

In summary, the candidates stated “Sometimes we need a reminder of our immigrant heritage and the need not to discriminate. We agree with Mayor Conley when he stated, ‘Madison is a community brimming with civic minded volunteers—it’s another aspect of what makes us welcoming. Let’s work together to make positive differences in the lives of our fellow community members.’

We believe that the Madison Eagle had it right back in February when it stated: ‘The Welcoming Resolution does not alarm us. It makes us proud that Madison is reaffirmed as a beacon of diversity. And as the resulting discussion in this community evolves, we hope to become prouder still.’

If you agree, please remember to vote for Carmela Vitale and John Hoover for Madison Borough Council on November 7.”