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Mayor Jenny Durkan Leads Coalition of Mayors of Welcoming Jurisdictions in Calling on President Trump to Stop Baseless Attacks on Immigrants and Refugees

Letter Responds to Proposal to Send Immigrants and
Refugees to Welcoming Cities, Outlines Three Key Steps to Fix Broken
Immigration System

Seattle (April 19, 2019) – Joined by 16 mayors of welcoming
jurisdictions across the country, Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan led a letter to
President Trump in response to his
proposal
to send immigrants and refugees to sanctuary cities.

  1. Address the humanitarian crisis at the border with increased resources to process asylum claims, including more immigration judges to adjudicate cases and address the current backlog;
  2. Abandon the ill-advised and unlawful effort to transform local law enforcement agencies into federal immigration officials; and
  3. Work with Congress to pass the Dream and Promise Act now.

Mayor Durkan and fellow
welcoming jurisdiction leaders call on President Trump to fix our broken
immigration system, which has punished hardworking people who want to
contribute to our national life. The coalition calls on the President to take
three key steps to address the broken immigration system:

“Your statements show a
misplaced attempt to retaliate against your perceived political enemies, and
that you view immigrants and refugees as mere political pawns. We are proud to
lead jurisdictions that welcome immigrants and refugees, and we will continue
to do so,” said the coalition in the letter. “We are equipped to support people
seeking refuge, and are willing to act urgently in our communities to prevent
the further detention of individuals seeking asylum, or the further separation
of families.”

The City of Seattle is a
Welcoming City – immigrants and refugees are welcome here. For more information
on the City of Seattle’s Welcoming City policies, please
click here
.

The full letter is here and below:

April 19, 2019

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write you as mayors and executives of jurisdictions across our country,
united by the belief that the diversity of our communities and our great nation
is a source of strength, vitality, and economic power. We have previously
spoken out against your inhumane policy to separate children and families, and
your misguided attempts to use local law enforcement as federal immigration
enforcement officials. Today, we are writing in the wake of your proposal to
send immigrants and refugees to welcoming jurisdictions such as ours.

Your statements show a misplaced attempt to retaliate
against your perceived political enemies, and that you view immigrants and
refugees as mere political pawns. We are proud to lead jurisdictions that
welcome immigrants and refugees, and we will continue to do so. We are equipped
to support people seeking refuge, and are willing to act urgently in our
communities to prevent the further detention of individuals seeking asylum, or
the further separation of families. While your initial proposal to bus refugees
across the country is likely unconstitutional, nevertheless, to fulfill our
responsibility as a nation that protects the human rights of everyone, we are
ready to work with the administration to welcome refugees and asylum seekers
into our cities and counties, and to ensure they have access to available
resources and services.

Mr. President, we are not afraid of immigrants.

We represent some of the hundreds of welcoming
jurisdictions in our country, ranging from tiny rural counties to large cities
to eight states. As welcoming cities, we know that today’s immigrants are
tomorrow’s United States citizens, and we believe they should have the
opportunity to contribute to the economic, cultural and civic life of our
nation.

For decades, our country has had a broken immigration system that has punished hard-working men and women who want to contribute to our national life, and eroded the promise that there can be opportunity for those who work hard and abide by our laws. As mayors and executives of diverse jurisdictions, we are well positioned to help shape a solution to this broken system to the benefit of all our communities, and we urge you to take three key steps to address our broken immigration system.

First, you should address the humanitarian crisis at the
border with increased resources to process asylum claims, including more
immigration judges to adjudicate cases and address the current backlog. It is
clear that many of the people seeking refuge and asylum have guaranteed
Constitutional right to due process, and our country must be able to
appropriately ensure that we are treating asylum seekers and their families.
You must also reduce the growing backlog of naturalization applications at the
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) impacting legal permanent
residents in cities across our country. The enormous backlog of citizenship
applications prevents hundreds of thousands of immigrants across our country
from becoming civically engaged citizens and voters.

Second, you should abandon your ill-advised and unlawful
effort to transform our local law enforcement agencies into federal immigration
officials. We know that this effort jeopardizes the safety of our communities
by eroding the trust between communities and the police, which discourages
victims from reporting crime due to fear of retaliation and deportation, and by
diverting much-needed local resources away from searches for violent criminals.
The role of our local law enforcement agencies is to protect the health and
safety of the communities we serve. For that reason, our local law enforcement
officials should not do the job of federal immigration enforcement, and any
suggestion to the contrary puts the safety of our communities in
jeopardy. 

Third, we believe you should work with Congress to pass
the Dream and Promise Act now. For too long, our neighbors who have Deferred
Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), or
Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) status have been living with uncertainty.
These are workers, entrepreneurs, and innovators who have devoted years of
their lives to helping strengthen our cities and country.

Our cities are pursuing the fundamental principles of
justice and opportunity that this country was founded on. For years, our cities
have taken in those seeking refuge, and we stand ready to continue to welcome
our new neighbors, whether or not you’re willing to do your job. We will
continue fighting to ensure America remains a great land of opportunity.

Sincerely,

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan
Seattle, WA                                                                                  

Mayor Eric Garcetti
Los Angeles, CA

Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Chicago, IL                                                   

Mayor Ted Wheeler
Portland, OR

Mayor Miguel Pulido
Santa Ana, CA                                                                                                        

Mayor Darrell Steinberg
Sacramento, CA

Mayor Libby Schaaf
Oakland, CA                                                                                                                   

Mayor Cassie Franklin
Everett, WA

Mayor Sam Liccardo
San Jose, CA                                                       

Mayor Michael Tubbs
Stockton, CA

Mayor Martin J. Walsh
Boston, MA                                                                                                                      

Mayor Michael B. Hancock
Denver, CO

Mayor Jackie Biskupski
Salt Lake City, UT                                                                                                            

Mayor Alan Nagy
Newark, CA

Mayor Victoria Woodards
Tacoma, WA                                            

Mayor Pauline Cutter
San Leandro, CA

leverton

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