Even has some have seized upon the arrest of a naturalized American of Afghan origin in connection with last weekend’s bombing in Chelsea neighborhood of New York City to fuel anti-immigrant feelings, the mayors of New York, Paris and London have reaffirmed their commitment to welcoming refugees and migrants to their cities.
Bill de Blasio of New York, Anne Hidalgo of Paris, and Sadiq Khan of London co-wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, sending a clear message to leaders attending the United Nations’ Summit for Refugees and Migrants and President Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees this week: “Our cities stand united in the call for inclusivity”:
As the mayors of three great global cities — New York, Paris and London — we urge the world leaders assembling at the United Nations to take decisive action to provide relief and safe haven to refugees fleeing conflict and migrants fleeing economic hardship, and to support those who are already doing this work.
Politicians in all three countries have equated migration with terrorism—most recently, with the son of US presidential candidate Donald Trump comparing Syrian refugees with nefarious intentions to poisoned Skittles candy.
All three mayors come from cities scarred by terrorism, from 9/11 in New York City to the London bombings of 2005, to the attacks in January and November of 2015 in Paris. Still, “it is wrong to characterize immigrant and refugee communities as radical and dangerous,” the three mayors wrote. “Therefore, we must continue to pursue an inclusive approach to resettlement in order to combat the growing tide of xenophobic language around the globe.”
And they do. The mayors highlighted their cities’ centers for refugees, support for unaccompanied children, and municipal ID programs designed to give immigrants access to services and resources. “Investing in the integration of refugees and immigrants is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do,” the mayors wrote. “Refugees and other foreign-born residents bring needed skills and enhance the vitality and growth of local economies, and their presence has long benefited our three cities.”
They urged the world leaders to follow their example:
We know policies that embrace diversity and promote inclusion are successful. We call on world leaders to adopt a similar welcoming and collaborative spirit on behalf of the refugees all over the world during the summit meeting this week. Our cities stand united in the call for inclusivity. It is part of who we are as citizens of diverse and thriving cities.