As of Thursday night's meeting — the first after the Democratic primary election, which took place Tuesday — Ann Arbor City Council is now calling upon Governor Rick Snyder to grant a pardon to recently-detained Ann Arbor resident Kamiran Taymour.
Taymour, as a result of a conviction dating back to 2010 for marijuana possession, is now facing deportation and the possibility of leaving behind his wife and three kids in Ann Arbor.
Passed unanimously by the council at their meeting Thursday night, the resolution opposing the deportation of all Iraqi Christians asks Snyder to pardon crimes of those detained in recent ICE raids so they no longer are considered a priority for leaving the country.
Councilmember Jack Eaton (D–Ward 4), who co-sponsored the resolution, addressed the impacts of community engagement in voicing their concerns with deportation efforts.
“It’s so important that we speak up because we’ve seen that the Federal Courts actually pay attention,” Eaton said.
He continued to discuss the urgency of the matter in passing the resolution.
“I think that time is of the essence here,” Eaton said. “We don’t know when they will act on the deportation effort, and so I ask for your support. I think that it’s consistent with our previous actions and I think it’s consistent with our community values.”
After the council’s recent failed attempts to save Ann Arbor mother Lourdes Salazar Bautista from her scheduled Aug. 2 deportation by asking the federal government to reconsider, Ann Arbor residents in conjunction with City Council members are looking to different measures to keep immigrants from being deported.
Councilmember Sumi Kailasapathy (D–Ward 1) said the council needs to refocus its efforts from the federal to the state legislature to cause any foreseeable changes in the way efforts to end deportations of citizens are being carried out.
“What I would like to lay out here is we have less control over the federal government and ICE and I think what we need to appeal right now is to Governor Snyder,” Kailasapathy said. “He lives in Ann Arbor, he’s our governor and he should pardon the gentleman.”
She went to reflect on her own experiences as an immigrant to the country, speaking on how issues like this have inspired her to become involved in the government.
“This country gave me an opportunity and that’s the reason I get involved in politics and do all this, because I feel I need to give back to the community that fostered me and gave me a second chance at life,” she said.
Councilmember Zachary Ackerman (D–Ward 3), in discussion of the resolution, spoke directly to the current administration’s deportation efforts, saying they’re causing more harm than good.
“When you risk the lives of the family members and the lives of the individuals who volunteer to go side-by-side with the men and women of the U.S. Armed Services in the Middle East, you’re undermining peace in the Middle East, you’re undermining the safety of every soldier, sailor, marine,” Ackerman said. “Because if we don’t have the ability to speak Arabic in Iraq, the world is left to be torn apart. But more than that, if we want to drain the swamp, let's start with the bureaucrats in the ICE Detroit office who’d rather be lazy and detain law-abiding citizens than actually go after gang members.”
Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor spoke briefly before the resolution went to vote, offering his sentiments on the state he feels the nation is in.
“It is, I believe, a time in our national history that we will I hope soon reflect upon a disgrace and a time for which as a nation ought to feel shame,” he said. “There are moments in our history where we do properly feel tremendous pride and there are moments in our history where we must feel shame and regret and I think that we’re living one.”