The Aurora City Council voted unanimously Monday to form a sister city relationship with Chihuahua, Mexico.
The council voted on the item as part of the consent calendar. Items on the consent calendar pass in a block vote without discussion.
During a meeting earlier this month, council members Francoise Bergan and Danielle Jurinsky expressed concerns about a sister city relationship with Chihuahua. Emotions boiled over when Jurinsky referenced Chihuahua’s crime rate. She quoted websites that reported traveling to Chihuahua is unsafe. “Don’t lie to yourself, this city is dangerous,” read one headline.
Council member Juan Marcano, who sponsored the resolution creating the sister city relationship, said several countries have travel advisories against the United States. “Glass houses, y’all.”
Aurora flush with immigrants
Aurora Sister Cities International and Marcano want to create a sister-city partnership with Chihuahua because of the large number of Mexican immigrants living in Aurora. Most are from Chihuahua, according to the sister cities group. In Denver, 22.3 percent of consulate documents related to Chihuahua.
Jurinsky said the cartels have a powerful influence over Chihuahua. She said a cook at one of her restaurants is from Chihuahua. She said he is grateful to be here and has no desire to return to Chihuahua. She said she suspects that sums up the beliefs of many Mexican immigrants. “We need to stay focused on our own crime rate,” Jurinsky said. “Thank God we don’t currently live under cartel rule.”
Councilmember Francoise Bergan bristled at suggestions Aurora and Chihuahua have crime in common. “Chihuahua and Aurora are night and day,” she said. “There are no kidnappings and beheadings by cartels in Aurora.”
But Councilmember Alison Coombs shot back. “Yes, we have kidnappings, we have Black girls who have been missing for years and years.”
Aurora's other sister cities
Aurora already has sister city relationships with Seongnam, South Korea and Adama, Ethiopia. In addition, the city has non-active relationships with the cities of Jaco, Costa Rica, Zielona Gora, Poland and Antiguo Cuscatlan, El Salvador (Friendship city).”
Chihuahua, meanwhile, also has sister city relationships with Pueblo, Colo. and Albuquerque.
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