In July 2019, during a period in which fear and anxiety in immigrant communities across the nation had grown as a result of a range of aggressive anti-immigrant initiatives at the federal level, and fear and anxiety across broader minority communities was being stoked by racist and nativist rhetoric from many sources and by the failure of many at high levels in government to confront it, the Conference invited mayors to describe actions taken to reassure immigrants and all minorities feeling targeted that their city government stands with them, to protect their rights and help counter the racist rhetoric they may feel is directed at them. Following are examples of statements issued and initiatives launched in cities across the nation.
- Stockton, CA: Mayor Michael Tubbs states, “In Stockton, we welcome immigrants because we are a city built by immigrants. Each day Stocktonians of all backgrounds work side by side helping to build a stronger community and living out the phrase “E Pluribus Unum” – that out of many we are one.” The City has produced a Resource Guide for Immigrant Stocktonians.
- Washington, DC: Mayor Muriel Bowser states that, “regardless of immigration status, immigrants in DC are our neighbors, coworkers, small business owners, family members, and valued members of our community, and we will continue working together to provide the supports and opportunities that every person in our city deserves.” The Mayor’s Web site provides an exhaustive list of services and other resources available to immigrants.
- Rochester, MN: Mayor Kim Norton and Police Chief Jim Franklin issued a statement on July 11 in response to threatened ICE raids. The Mayor stresses regular communications with members of the City’s diverse communities, the City’s relationship with the Diversity Council, and increased community relationship building activities (Safe City Nights) sponsored by law enforcement throughout the summer.
- Evanston, IL: Mayor Stephen Hagerty issued statements in June in English and in Spanish and in July regarding expected ICE activity.
- Nashville, TN: Mayor David Briley published a Spanish-language (English subtitled) PSA that logged more than 110,000 views shortly after its release on July 12. A statement targeted to the immigrant community was issued on July 22 following a highly-publicized incident in which an ICE attempt to arrest residents was blocked by community members.
- Santa Fe, NM: Mayor Alan Webber issued a statement on the threat of coordinated nationwide ICE raids in which he referred to them as “fundamentally un-American and antithetical to our values. Even the suggestion is enough to foster fear among all our people, not just immigrants. It hurts our law enforcement, hampers our economy, traumatizes families and children, and casts a shadow on the whole community.” A summary of Santa Fe’s response is HERE.