Mayors Summit Focuses on Immigration

Mayoral Support for Immigration Reform
Mayor of New York City, Bill deBlasio

Mayors leading both big and small cities around the country are joining together in support of President Obama’s November announcement of executive action on immigration. Cities United for Immigration Action is a group of 25 mayors who’ve come together to offer coordinated efforts in working with the new rules.

The mayors initially met in early December in New York. Hosted by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the meeting also included Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. Others mayors in attendance were those representing the cities of Houston, Philadelphia and San Francisco. In all, 18 mayors attended and 26 cities were represented at the summit.

New York’s Mayor de Blasio said in a statement that the group’s purpose was to come up with a plan “that truly prepares our localities for swift implementation of changes and also advocates for further reforms from the municipal level all the way up to Washington.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said he is a “firm believer in the power of cities taking control of their future,” and that mayors who work together strengthen their cities.

“Immigrants in Pittsburgh today mirror the same drive that was true generations ago with the arrival of Irish, Italian, Polish, German, and many others who helped to build our city, and our country,” Peduto said in a statement. “Our city’s resiliency and can-do work ethic carries on in new immigrants who are opening small businesses such as grocery stores and retail shops, launching careers in our budding tech start-up industry, and setting roots across our city.”

“The president’s action on immigration will strengthen our cities. It will keep families together, grow our economies and foster additional community trust in law enforcement and government,” the coalition said in a statement released during the conference. “We are ready — and together we’re rolling up our sleeves to turn this policy into a better reality for millions of hardworking people in the communities we serve.”

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director, León Rodríguez, was also in attendance at the summit. He joined the mayors along with Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama. In his USCIS blog post, Rodriguez says his remarks focused on the combined efforts of all interested parties. “I noted the importance of the existing partnerships and collaboration we have with many of the cities represented at Gracie Mansion, including working together in our outreach and public engagement efforts,” according to the director. “Cities can be strong allies as we reach out to those seeking help from USCIS – both through the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, the naturalization process, or the new efforts announced by President Obama.”

USCIS Director Rodriguez reports on the remarks of Homeland Security Secretary Johnson as an overview of the executive action. More notably, however, the secretary also noted that “administrative actions are no substitute for Congress enacting comprehensive immigration reform,” according to the USCIS blog.

Those interested in supporting the Cities for Action initiative can do so by providing basic contact information in declaring, “I support the President for his leadership in fixing a broken immigration system.”