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Forest asks out of board appointment

Thursday, April 16, 2015 by Jo Clifton

City Council Member Don Zimmerman’s controversial appointee to the Commission on Immigrant Affairs, Rebecca Forest, asked Zimmerman on Wednesday to rescind her appointment, “as it is apparent the City Council is determined not to honor it.” Eight members of the Council indicated Tuesday that they would support Council Member Greg Casar’s resolution calling for the removal of Forest from the commission just two weeks after her appointment. In the resolution, Casar cited numerous inflammatory statements Forest has made, including the statement that Texas has too many Hispanic lawmakers. She has also disparaged President Barack Obama, inaccurately calling him a Muslim, and praised the government of Angola for destroying mosques and outlawing Islam. In a letter to Zimmerman, Forest said, “Time and time again I have stated that I do not care where people come from, I just want them to obey our laws, come legally, speak our language and assimilate — become ‘Americans.'” But she also took a swipe at local leaders, saying, “It is truly disturbing to see how elected (and appointed) leaders in the City of Austin and Travis County are choosing to put the safety of legal immigrants, legal residents and American citizens at risk by adopting policies that provide a ‘safety zone’ (thus sanctuary) for violent/criminal illegal aliens flowing daily across our southern border.” Further, she said, many residents of District 6 “feel that the Austin City Council (and the Immigrant Affairs Commission) put ALL Austin families in great danger by implementing/recommending ‘sanctuary city’ policies. It is unacceptable that the leadership in Austin is knowingly aiding and abetting criminal activity through policies that act as a magnet to draw dangerous criminals into our communities — especially into our local immigrant communities.” Late last night, Casar said he had received word from City Clerk Jannette Goodall that Forest had submitted another letter in which she said she was declining the appointment. If that is legally sufficient to prevent her from taking a seat on the commission, Casar said, then he will not need to move forward with the resolution.

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