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Mayors of Many US Cities to Convene in New York City at Summit on Implementation of Executive Order on Immigration

November 20, 2014

President Obama’s imminent announcement of significant changes in our country’s immigration system will bring temporary relief to millions across the nation

Hosted by Mayor de Blasio in Gracie Mansion in New York on December 8th, the summit’s goal is to create a united front with cities that have led the nation in the adoption of common sense policies to welcome and embrace new immigrants

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that New York City is hosting a first-ever summit on December 8th with at least twenty mayors from cities across the country to discuss and lay out a step-by-step implementation plan of an executive order on immigration.

“The President’s soon-to-be-announced reforms will initiate an economic, political and social transformation of our cities and our country,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “In New York City, I have directed a series of comprehensive initiatives to provide stability to all our immigrants—newly-arrived and those that have lived here for generations—that have already been promoting safer and stronger communities all across the city. This summit will offer a unique opportunity for mayors of many of our nation’s progressive cities to restate our leadership and responsibility on this decisive issue and to come out with an unbeatable master 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.”  

“We can’t wait any longer for immigration reform,” said Portland Mayor Michael Brennan. “I’m pleased President Obama is taking action as this reform will have a substantial impact on the people of Portland and Maine as a whole. I’m also pleased to join Mayor de Blasio and the coalition of mayors from around the country that support these efforts. ”
“San Francisco is already a model for the nation in welcoming immigrants and empowering new citizens, but we must do more,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “As the son of immigrant parents, I want others to know, San Francisco will continue its leadership on this issue and will remain a place that welcomes all residents, regardless of where or how they arrived. As a Sanctuary City, San Francisco will continue to work closely with our broad network of community-based organizations, philanthropic foundations, labor, education and City partners to continue to invest in the future of all San Franciscans.”

“Our country has been built on the hard work of generations of immigrants,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Today, one in five residents of my city is foreign-born. Every day, we see the economic contributions of immigrants in our cities. We need to reunite and bring undocumented families out of the shadows, integrating immigrants into our community. I look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio and the other mayors who are leading the charge on this issue.”

“As mayors, we know first-hand that alleviating the challenges faced by our most marginalized residents strengthens our community as a whole,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “The City of Atlanta is committed to working with cities across the country to implement President Obama’s Administrative Relief order to provide millions of aspiring citizens the opportunity to rightfully and legally contribute to our nation’s economy and strengthen our cities’ cultural fabric, economic growth and global competitiveness.”

“The time for comprehensive immigration reform is long overdue,” said Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. “These are issues that impact our cities every day. Given Congress’s failure to act, I am proud to join Mayor de Blasio and other mayors to support the President’s executive order and fix our nation’s broken immigration system.”

“I am pleased to join Mayor de Blasio and mayors from across the country in creating welcoming and inclusive cities,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. “As the country works toward a comprehensive immigration system, cities like New York and Dayton will continue to work with the resources available to provide opportunities for all people.”

New York City is among tens of cities which have clearly defined a course of action to counter the anti-immigrant policy-making of some US localities. The de Blasio administration already has a track record for welcoming immigrant New Yorkers. From access to federal immigration benefits, from citizenship to U visas application assistance, from deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) to the City’s response to the unaccompanied child migrant crisis  and new Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detainer legislation that will dramatically reduce deportations, the City has led a movement that cements the notion that a city’s prosperity and strength depends upon its new American residents having ample opportunities to reach their fullest potential and contribute to the well-being of our communities.

In the face of Congress’s failure to pass immigration legislation to date, the nation’s President and the Department of Homeland Security have legal authority to prioritize enforcement efforts and provide temporary relief from deportation for undocumented immigrants who pose no public safety risk. Other presidents —including Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr., and Bush Jr. — have done the same.  It is estimated that as many as five million immigrants in the country can benefit from this move, and municipalities across the nation will be responsible for further integrating these individuals to society. 

 The goals of the summit are:

  • Creating fertile ground at the municipal level for implementation of the presidential order through diverse and thorough outreach to immigrant communities and local authorities, among other initiatives. 
  • Creating consensus on the need for a permanent solution to the nation’s broken immigration system through congressional action on comprehensive reform.

As part of the summit, Commissioners of Immigrant Affairs of many cities will also be meeting in New York City to assess practical implementation of the executive action.

The summit’s agenda offers opportunities for mayors to present on particular developments in their cities as well as get advice from legal experts. As a takeaway, each mayor in attendance will be challenged to meet a five-point strategy to achieve successful implementation. The summit will also kick off a national campaign that includes media appearances and events. 

Additionally, to support the implementation of executive action on immigration, New York City is convening a task force of dozens of city agencies to plan for a coordinated City-wide response that includes public engagement, education, and delivery of services to immigrants who will gain temporary legal status thanks to the President’s actions.

“With the administration of Mayor de Blasio, New York City has become a leader in supporting the full participation in our civil society of Americans who will soon have legal status in the United States—for example, by establishing a program for municipal identification cards and ending cooperation with  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. “These programs affirm our character as a community that welcomes people from around the world with open arms and will, I believe, become a model for other cities in the United States as we implement President Obama’s executive order to protect millions of Americans from deportation.”

“President Obama knows there are real lives at stake in our current broken immigration system, and he will soon take decisive and meaningful action that will help American families stay together and American businesses stay competitive,” said Congressman Joe Crowley. “As a gateway to America, New York City has been a leader in welcoming immigrants, and I’m pleased the City is convening this summit to put the President’s policies into practice and continue this proud tradition.”

“It’s encouraging to see a coalition of mayors come together to find solutions for how to best implement President Obama’s executive order in their own cities,” said Congressman Eliot Engel. “House Republicans’ refusal to act has left millions of undocumented immigrations living and working in our communities in limbo. We should welcome those who have come to our nation in search of a better life, as have countless generations before them. I look forward to seeing our nation’s mayors join the President to move our immigration system toward fairness and equality.”

“I’m proud that New York continues to be a national leader on important issues like immigration reform. This leadership benefits our economy and New York families,” said Congressman Steve Israel. “I look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio as he implements these reforms in New York City.”

“I commend Mayor de Blasio for hosting mayors from across the nation to discuss implementation strategies following the President's executive order on immigration,” said Congressman Gregory Meeks.  “These new immigration initiatives from the President, along with the Mayor's swift and thorough integration, will help unite communities, boost job creation, and contribute to steady economic growth. I applaud the Mayor's leadership to integrate the President’s immigration actions and his continuous effort to make NYC a shining example for the rest of the nation. ”

“It is way past time to reform our nation’s immigration system, and this gathering of mayors will allow many of America’s cities to be on the same page when implementing the President’s executive order,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng. “It is critical to be unified on this effort, and I thank Mayor de Blasio for spearheading it.”

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for continuing to take a leadership role in reforming our immigration policies and for organizing this summit on President Obama’s upcoming executive order on immigration,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “We must stand with our immigrant communities, both because is the right thing to do and because it is what has made our city – and our nation – one of the greatest on earth. To not allow immigrants to ever take part in the American dream flies in the face of our nation’s history and some of our most important values.”
“I am proud of Mayor de Blasio’s bold leadership in implementing President Obama’s executive order that will provide many of our constituents a chance at the American Dream,” said Congressman Charlie Rangel.  “It is fitting that the Mayor’s immigration summit is taking place in New York City, where the Statue of Liberty stands tall reminding us that America’s legacy has been crafted by generations of hard-working men and women who moved to the United States from all over the globe in search of a better life. Regardless of one’s place of origin, everyone in America should have the same freedom and opportunities as those who came before them. ”

“Our cities benefit immensely from the contributions of immigrants and they need to be ready to effectively implement the changes to our immigration system the President is set to announce today,” said Congressman José E. Serrano. “Local governments need to make sure the changes the President announces are swiftly implemented and that local residents have access to the information and support they need to take advantage of them. This summit will help mayors exchange ideas to implement the President’s plan and work together to promote comprehensive immigration reform. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for convening this summit and making sure that New York City continues leading the way in the fair treatment of immigrants.”

“The Mayor, the Council, and our City in its entirety have shown continued leadership on issues that affect both undocumented and documented immigrants,” said Chair of City Council Committee on Immigration Carlos Menchaca. “The upcoming national summit in New York City is an unprecedented move in a political climate that has been hostile toward this population. I commend Mayor de Blasio on his immediate, coordinated response to the President’s Executive Order, and look forward to working in partnership with the administration to ensure that our city remains a haven for hard-working people from all over the world.”
“The executive actions that President Obama is expected to announce will kick off a series of changes that will have an impact on governance on the federal, state, and local level,” said Assembly Member and lead sponsor of the New York DREAM Act Francisco Moya. “Bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and fully integrating them into American life will be our responsibility on all levels of government. Convening mayors from cities all across the United States sends a two-fold message to Washington: that we are ready to absorb the impact of the President’s executive actions and that support for comprehensive immigration reform is widespread. As a lawmaker who represents a part of New York with a large immigrant community, I am intimately aware of how deportation rips families apart and tears our social fabric. Regularizing the status of undocumented immigrants who have deep economic and familial ties to the U.S. will allow our economy, our law enforcement, and our society to function better. New York has long set the standard for immigration reform. This summit will allow us to collaborate with cities throughout the nation and light the way forward together.”

“This convening sends an important message to Washington: that cities across the country are ready for immigration reform and will not wait to move forward in light of inaction in Washington,” said Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal. “When the President acts, he will not act alone. New York and our sister cities stand behind him. And we will do all that is in our power to help ensure the successful implementation of the president’s plan.”

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