Welcoming Cities Immigrants Are Welcome in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), December 30, 2018 | Go to article overview

Welcoming Cities Immigrants Are Welcome in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia


A "Welcoming City" is one that promotes inclusive policies, programs and practices across all sectors, amplifying the message that all people are welcome -regardless of where they came from or when they arrived. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are proud of this designation. As the city officials who work most directly with our immigrant and refugee communities and the individuals and organizations who serve them, we condemn the Trump administration's hateful and fear-based approach to immigration, specifically its attempts to further xenophobic policies that harm our residents and drive fear into our communities. Because cities do not get a say in what happens at the border, even though federal immigration policies impact our communities every day, we urge federally elected officials, particularly those from Pennsylvania, to stand up and protect our residents from the Trump administration's harmful immigration policies, especially funding a border wall.

The Trump administration has targeted our cities by adopting federal policies rooted in hostility toward immigrant communities. The purpose of those policies is not only to harm our immigrant communities, but to fuel divisiveness in this country in order to score political points. In Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney has gone to court to defeat the U.S. Department of Justice's attempt to strip critical federal law enforcement funding from the city because of its welcoming city policies. In Pittsburgh, Mayor William Peduto has forcefully pushed back against the federal administration's attempt to deny immigrant families the benefits to which they are entitled via a change to the "public charge" rule.

The immigrants whose lives would be negatively impacted by these policies are not political pawns; they are human beings, and deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else. We are proud to be residents of cities who recognize their fundamental value, and to work for mayors who will stand up and fight on their behalf.

In Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, we all know what happens to real people when the federal government endorses cruel, unworkable, and sometimes unlawful policies. These policies are not designed to help people, or make Americans safer, but instead to stoke fear in a small subset of the electorate. Fortunately, not all Pennsylvanians agree with the federal administration's views on immigrants. In a recent poll, 58 percent of Pennsylvania voters rejected the administration's zero tolerance policy and a large number of voters said that alignment with the administration's immigration positions was a reason to vote against certain candidates. …

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