In his state of the city speech Monday night, West Lafayette mayor John Dennis said the city sets a standard for quality of life.
He then reminded the council that in the face of a new presidential administration, the city’s philosophy of inclusion should be upheld.
Dennis says the city’s residents celebrate diversity. He says the best demonstration of that local feeling came with the recent women’s rally in downtown Lafayette, in which he participated.
“There was a lot of passion. There were some tears. There was some laughter," Dennis says. "But, the whole point was is that we like our society the way it’s going. We like the forward momentum that society has. Don’t take us back.”
Dara Marquez is a Purdue chemical engineering graduate student who immigrated to Indiana when she was three years old.
She says students from all over the world come to Purdue in part for West Lafayette’s reputation for being welcoming and diverse. But while she appreciates the mayor’s message, she says Indiana cities may need to do more to protect their residents.
“But, there are also realities that face those individuals that are part of those cultural celebrations," she says. "I can celebrate my Mexican heritage, but tomorrow I’m afraid that there could be an ICE agent that comes.”
Marquez and other graduate students testified at the council meeting to propose that West Lafayette become a sanctuary city – one which declines to prosecute people based on certain immigration rules.
Dennis says the city would first have to identify if there is any inappropriate deportation happening in West Lafayette.