When I clicked on the Winston-Salem Journal story the first thing that greeted me was the activist holding up a “Free Dan Besse” T-shirt. Free Dan Besse? From what?

Getting up to speed, Besse is the City Council member who proposed a resolution that would make Winston-Salem a “Welcoming City” for illegal immigrants. At last night’s council meeting, Besse withdrew the resolution, conceding he did not have the votes:

Opponents of the Besse resolution have seen it as akin to declaring Winston-Salem a “sanctuary city” that does not cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Sanctuary ordinances and rules are banned by state law. Besse and resolution supporters argued that the resolution committed the city only to legal actions that would emphasize welcoming newcomers

Mayor Allen Joines said his understanding going into the Monday meeting was that Besse would have had “an uphill battle” trying to pass the resolution.

Besse said he didn’t have a firm vote count on the council because discussions and concerns had continued, but said he would now try to reach out to other election officials and community leaders in a broader effort.

…..Besse said he would have pushed for a vote on his resolution if he had been assured of “good, solid council support,” but feared a split vote that would “send the wrong message to the community.”

“I didn’t want a loss,” Besse said. “And even a narrow win would not have sent as strong a message as I wanted to send.”

I don’t live in W-S, but based on what I read in the Journal it seems to me the citizens should be freed from Dan Besse.