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May 3, 2019
Local Action Spotlight: Cities for Action
In response to Trump’s threat to send people released from immigrant detention facilities to sanctuary cities, Yanira Arias, National Campaign Manager for Alianza Americas, @yarias/put-out-the-welcome-mat-for-asylum-seekers-a-call-for-cities-nationwide-385d47db71d4">writes that cities should flip the script, and put out the “welcome mat.” Some mayors already have.
Mayors from New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Oakland issued statements, decrying the president’s willingness to “use people as pawns” while committing to continue welcoming immigrants into their cities.
She goes on to write:
Cities across the country can follow the example of these leaders, and use this moment to undertake new efforts to engage mayors, school systems, faith communities, civil society, and businesses to coordinate an active effort to embrace, support, and integrate asylum-seekers who are seeking humanitarian protection.
Specifically, cities from both the sanctuary movement and beyond can:
1. Issue a strong statement that challenges current anti-immigrant rhetoric and affirms the commitment to keep local police and services separate from immigration enforcement
2.Convene a broad sector of social service organizations, legal service providers, migrant associations, faith groups, school districts, and businesses in the community to plan a coordinated response.
3.Affirmatively challenge the Trump administration to embrace and integrate asylum-seekers into their communities.
As asylum-seekers continue to arrive at the border and face discrimination and an under-resourced system that prefers privatized detention to humane treatment, cities across the country can show that another way is possible. Read her full post @yarias/put-out-the-welcome-mat-for-asylum-seekers-a-call-for-cities-nationwide-385d47db71d4">here.
One of the vehicles for a coordinated response is the coalition, Cities for Action. A coalition of 175 mayors and county executives that work to develop pro-immigrant federal policies. Cities for Action lists its priorities
- Public Safety: Ensuring the well-being and safety of all our constituents, regardless of immigration status, and challenging federal policies that inhibit localities' ability to protect our residents.
- Advancing Immigrant Rights: Defending the rights of immigrant residents, advancing immigration protections locally and nationally, and responding to threats to immigration policies.
- Civic Inclusion: Promoting policies and programs that support immigrant inclusion and engagement in civic life.
Is you city on the list? Find out here.
Trump administration seeks to restrict visas based on faulty data
For many years the number of people who arrive legally and overstay visas, has surpassed the number of people crossing the border irregularly. Part of the reason for this trend is that border crossings are much lower now than in the past, and not because visa overstays have increased - indeed they may have declined. Nevertheless:
Trump administration officials are using questionable conclusions from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) visa overstay reports to justify new immigration restrictions on international students, temporary workers and visitors. Moreover, the administration plans to move forward with new restrictive measures against international students even though an analysis of DHS data shows the percentage of alleged overstays among such students has declined significantly.
Stuart Anderson, #560c8f149325">writing for Forbes, breaks down the ways that DHS’ overstay reports are inaccurate. For example:
First, the DHS overstay reports in no way represent an accurate count of the number or percentage of people who overstay visas in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security’s reports include as “overstays” people who did not necessarily overstay their visa, but individuals who DHS simply has been unable to confirm departed the United States. “The DHS figures represent actual overstays plus arrivals whose departure could not be verified. That is, they include both actual overstays and unrecorded departures,” according to an analysis of a recent DHS overstay report by demographer Robert Warren, a senior visiting fellow at the Center for Migration Studies. (Emphasis added.)
Read the full story #560c8f149325">here.