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Press Release

Cities for Action Holds Nationwide Convening to Establish Coalition Priorities During the Biden-Harris Administration

For Immediate Release: December 16, 2020

Coalition’s plan will include a special focus on an inclusive COVID-19 recovery that considers the needs of all residents and families, regardless of immigration status 

Cities for Action (C4A), which represents nearly 200 U.S. mayors and county executives who advocate for pro-immigrant and inclusive immigration policies and programs that strengthen communities and families, will hold a virtual convening hosted by New York City on December 16th as the country transitions to the new Biden-Harris Presidential administration. During the session, New York City will lead a discussion on the coalition’s priorities for the coming years with 38 local jurisdictions from areas across the country, including Boise, Idaho; Dodge City, Kansas; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Louisville, Kentucky; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Tucson, Arizona. These local leaders will also strategize how local government leaders can advance our vision for immigrant advancement and inclusive cities, counties, and nation. 

C4A will release its recommendations in January 2021 to ensure that key stakeholders, including the incoming Biden administration and the 117th U.S. Congress, make decisions that keep C4A’s vision for the next four years in-mind. Representatives from the incoming Biden administration and Biden-Harris transition team will be among the featured speakers to address the coalition. 

Nationwide, in cities and counties big and small, immigrants are integral members of our communities—they are our co-workers, teachers, farmers, healthcare workers, and most importantly, our family and community members. Cities and counties know that when our immigrant communities are thriving, the country is thriving. In recent years, in the face of damaging rhetoric and policies at the federal level, C4A and its members have led the charge to create safe and inclusive environments for diverse communities. These initiatives have included the development of municipal IDs, legal and other support for immigrants seeking citizenship or other immigration benefits, the expansion of language access, and the fight against compelling jurisdictions to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement at the expense of policies that advance community trust and greater safety for all. 

In addition to mapping out a long-term vision for more inclusive and welcoming local communities, the coalition will set the priorities needed to create a strong and inclusive COVID-19 recovery, one that centers the needs of immigrants and their families, to create an environment in which all can thrive. To be truly effective and equitable, recovery must recognize the outsized harms suffered and enormous contributions made by our immigrant communities, many of whom are keeping our cities and counties running in essential occupations.

"As the ultimate city of immigrants, our city has always recognized the immense contributions of immigrants, especially through the darkest days of this pandemic," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. "We are proud to host this vital Cities for Action convening alongside our sister cities, and to provide an opportunity to make real gains for communities across the nation and create a vision for an inclusive agenda for the benefit of all.”

“We must look at the next four years as an opportunity to drive more visionary and inclusive policies forward -- reversing the Trump administration’s policies is not enough,” said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “Cities and counties are clear: immigrants make our communities stronger and more resilient. We welcome an end to xenophobic and hateful federal policies of the past and look forward to working in partnership to realize a more inclusive and equitable COVID recovery and future for our communities.”

"We are a better and stronger community because of the diversity of people who call Boise home," said Mayor Lauren McLean, City of Boise. "Our immigrant residents bring new skills, new ideas and new ways of solving problems to our area. Because of them, Boise is a more innovative and resilient community."

“For decades, the United States has been operating under an antiquated immigration system and reform efforts are needed” said Mayor Joyce Warshaw of Dodge City.  “Immigrants and refugees are vital to Dodge City and the Kansas economy.  Southwest Kansas is home to four meat packing plants producing 25 percent of the nation’s beef.  Dodge City looks forward to working with the incoming White House Administration to put forth inclusive immigration policies and COVID19 relief, which will only strengthen our resident’s lives and our nation’s economy.”  

“Amid this pandemic, supporting our immigrant community is vital to ensuring no one is left behind,” said Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter. “This important conversation among our coalition partners will help set priorities that strengthen communities across our nation.”

“Since the beginning of this crisis, mayors have been on the frontline of the pandemic, and we have seen how action – and inaction – from Congress and President Trump have had a disproportionate impact on our vulnerable immigrant residents,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “ While Seattle and other cities across the country continue to offer programs to help our immigrant workers and small business owners impacted by COVID-19, we know President-Elect Biden can take bold executive actions that can have a profound impact. The results of the election meant that we will have a federal partner guided by the American value of welcoming immigrants and who is committed to the fight against COVID-19 and building a just and equitable recovery.”

“I look forward to working with the incoming Biden-Harris Administration and fellow cities to restore humanity and empathy to federal immigration policies and practices,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. “Here in the Borderlands, we see firsthand the consequences of the Trump Administration’s failed immigration policies. It’s time to turn this dark chapter in our nation’s history, and empower immigrants and refugees to not just survive, but thrive in our communities. I’m grateful for the leadership of New York City Mayor de Blasio and Cities for Action for bringing us together in this effort.” 

"The next four years affords our nation the opportunity to reshape federal policies and priorities to be inclusive of all Americans - immigrant and non-immigrant alike.  Those of us in City leadership speak with our constituents daily and can offer the federal government up-to-the minute feedback on the needs, safety, and contributions of our immigrant residents.  We provide the key to unlocking information that informs effective policies and programs that directly reflect the values of our communities.  As a member of the Cities for Action coalition, I look forward to working in partnership with the Biden- Harris administration to ensure more equitable and resilient communities across the nation.,” said Michelle Maziar, Director, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, City of Atlanta.

“Immigrants have been on the front lines of this pandemic and have been disproportionately impacted. Boston is looking forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to recover from this pandemic in a more equitable state than we entered it,” said Yusufi Vali, Director of the Boston Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement.

"In Chicago and across the country, immigrants continue to make up the historical, cultural and economic fabric of the communities they call home," said Nubia Willman, Director of the City of Chicago's Office of New Americans. "As a result, we owe it to our immigrant communities to do everything in our power to ensure their safety and access to opportunity. This work is foundational to making our cities and our entire country more welcoming, equitable and inclusive."

“Denver aims, as a part of a larger coalition of advocates, to support our immigrant and refugee residents to realize a community that is both safe and inclusive, now and in the future. Denver will continue to work with our city partners across the nation to implement policies, practices, and programs for meaningful immigrant integration,” said Atim Otii, Director, Denver Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs (DOIRA)

“Our cities and nation have a responsibility to protect the people who have protected us through every step of this pandemic — and that means doing our best to serve the immigrant and refugee communities standing front and center as essential workers and risking their own safety for all of us,” said Nora Preciado, Director of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “The incoming Biden-Harris Administration is a chance for a fresh start and an opportunity for cities to advance an agenda that delivers an inclusive COVID-19 recovery to our immigrant families now and humane immigration policies with a path to citizenship in the months and years ahead.”

“The City of Philadelphia is proud to be a welcoming city that celebrates the contributions of our residents who have come from other countries to make our city their new home. We look forward to an opportunity to work with our colleagues at all levels of government to build a healthcare and economic recovery plan that values immigrants and their families. They have been key in our local recovery efforts, and it’s time for national leaders to also recognize this with inclusive policies moving forward,” said Amy Eusebio, Director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs.

“For 23 years, the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission (IRC) has been working for a humane and fair immigration system and the inclusion of immigrants as contributors to our City’s and nation’s success,” said Chair Celine Kennelly and Vice Chair Mario Paz. “We applaud the work of Cities for Action and look forward to partnering in the coming years to lift up immigrants and black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities.”

About Cities for Action  
Cities for Action is a coalition of nearly 200 U.S. mayors and county executives working to advocate for and promote civic inclusion of our immigrant communities. Click HERE to see a list of Cities for Action mayors and county executives. To learn more about our work, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.