Coalition of mayors asks Obama to act on immigration

The program allows young immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children - or so-called "dreamers" - to remain in the United States without threat of deportation and work legally.

Immigrants' rights march in New York City.

The letter (you can read the text here) was sent to the White House on Thursday by Cities for Action, an advocacy group composed of more than 100 municipal officials pushing for immigration reform, with a particular focus on creating a path to citizenship for those now in the country illegally.

Additionally, they asked President Obama to support immigrants who can not 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, redesignating, or making new designations as appropriate".

The mayors and county executive also thanked the president for responding to concerns raised by coalition members, among others, about the "failed, discriminatory National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) programme, which created a "special registration" for immigrants from 25 primarily Muslim-majority countries".

Throughout his tumultuous campaign, President-elect Donald Trump made ending illegal immigration a top issue, even at one point calling for the mass deportation of all of the 11 million undocumented residents estimated to be in the country.

Franco Gabrielli, the head of Italy's Protezione Civile (Civil Protection), sent a two-page directive to all of the country's police departments that called on them to take "extraordinary action" to protect Italy from the "growing migratory pressure in an global context marked by instability and threats" and to "control and remove irregular foreigners". He is now embroiled in a lawsuit filed by several Republican lawmakers over plans to scrub vital identifying information about undocumented immigrants from databases for the city's municipal ID program, ID NYC.

"Specifically, we suggest that your administration (1) continue support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, and (2) continue support for immigrants who have Temporary Protected Status (TPS)", the letter, signed, in part, by hapless New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel whose city is besieged by violent crime. As local government leaders throughout the country, we know that immigrants make our communities stronger economically, culturally, and socially. "In the wake of the election, many of our residents are uncertain about the future".

Mayor Jim Kenney on Thursday signed the open letter addressed to the president, asking Obama and his administration to continue support for those protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, as well as for those who have temporary protected status. "That's why I am standing with my fellow mayors to thank the President for his leadership and call on him to take additional, lawful steps to help immigrants before leaving office".

But, sanctuary city leaders urged for protection that would extend further than just the DREAMers. "Now is the time for elected officials to show backbone".

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