Syracuse Common Councilor Jake Barrett held Wednesday night's meeting at Vinette Towers with the goal of having an open dialogue about the immigration flashpoint in Syracuse. While the meeting started with a civil discussion, it quickly escalated to shouting and appears to have done nothing to calm the storm over the issue.
Last week Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner wrote to President Obama offering up the city as a possible host site for some of the illegal immigrant children crossing the southern border. Protestors soon gathered outside the now closed Franciscan convent off Court Street. The convent has been scouted as a possible site, and passed an initial review by federal inspectors who are looking for places to safely house children waiting deportation hearings.
"I'm not against kids. Come on. You just all of a sudden took away my rights. I think a lot of the people feel that way," said Jeff Bishop who attended the meeting. Arguing the other side, "There really is not much of a downfall to this at all. As far as I can see and hear about," meeting attendee Michael Parzych said.
Ahead of the meeting, Councilor Barrett said, "I hope that people understand that there is very little impact negatively from what can happen. This private property and the Federal Government is negotiating with the holder of a piece of property. As good neighbors, we would like to make the project, whatever it is, whether it is a real estate development or a site for unaccompanied children, we would like to make it work."
Syracuse Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Cunningham says Jesus would welcome the children. Click here for his interview.
There is another meeting on this topic Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at the Pastime Athletic Club on North Salina Street. Mayor Miner is scheduled to attend.