NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- With a new national regime coming in, it’s more important than ever for local leaders to stand up for “just and humane public policy,” said New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson.
In a blog post titled “Blue City in a Red Nation,” Bramson said he, and 30 other mayors, including New York City’s Bill de Blasio, have signed a letter to outgoing President Barack Obama in support of protection for immigrants.
The new administration has, Bramson says, signaled an “intense hostility to progressive goals.”
Therefore, he says, local leaders have to defend “the marginalized and the bullied” and “uphold fundamental democratic norms.”
The open letter, signed by the 31 members of Cities for Action, a coalition of more than 100 mayors and county executives from across the country, thanked the Obama administration for its support of immigrant families and urged it to secure “further protections” for them before he leaves office.
Among the steps they were urging were:
- Strengthen support for young immigrants with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by accepting early DACA renewal applications; committing to timely processing by USCIS for initial and renewal DACA applications; and implementing additional privacy protections for DACA holders to reassure recipients that they will not be punished as a result of coming out of the shadows.
- Support immigrants who cannot safely return to their home countries due to conflict, natural disaster or other emergency conditions by reviewing current Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations and extending, re-designating, or making new designations as appropriate; and committing to timely processing by USCIS for TPS applications.
The coalition also thanked Obama for ending what it called the “failed, discriminatory” National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program.
The program created a “special registration” for immigrants from 25 primarily Muslim-majority countries, the letter said.
“Our immigrant residents help make New York City stronger economically, culturally, and socially,” de Blasio said in the letter.
“In the wake of the election, many of our residents are uncertain about the future,” de Blasio wrote, calling on Obama to “take additional, lawful steps to help immigrants before leaving office.”
Bramson said he signed the letter not only as a matter of “personal conscience,” but because it is his responsibility as mayor to effectively represent everyone in the community.
Thousands of residents could be directly affected by “radical changes in immigration, health care, environmental, or economic policies,” Bramson wrote.
“In an even more basic sense, our city has always been defined by its diversity and its open, inclusive spirit,” he added.
While respecting both the peaceful transfer of power, and the “legitimacy of the electoral college outcome,” Bramson wrote that he felt compelled to point out that the majority of voters in New Rochelle -- 70 percent -- cast their ballots for Chappaqua resident Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, and not for Bedford resident Donald J. Trump, the Republican candidate and now president elect.
The Clinton vote in New Rochelle was, Bramson wrote, "a bigger margin than she received statewide or countywide.”
According to Bramson, the final numbers out of New Rochelle give 21,519 votes to Clinton, 8,484 votes to Trump and 1,050 to a “scattering of other candidates.”
Clinton won in every part of the city – north, south, east, and west, the mayor added.
“Those of us who believe passionately that America is better than this new administration must do our part, whether large or small, to stand up for our neighbors, our principles, and our country, Bramson concluded.