Standing Up for Our Values

By Mayor Martin J. Walsh

Looking back on this week, I am so proud to be a Bostonian — and to be your Mayor. Last Friday, President Trump made good on his divisive campaign rhetoric, and signed a series of executive orders that are designed to promote American isolation, intolerance and fear. Boston didn’t sit back and accept these orders — our residents stood up against harming immigrants and refugees, and stood up for our values.

Forty-eight percent of Boston’s children have at least one parent who was born outside the United States. I identify with those kids because I was one of them. My mother and father came to Boston from Ireland looking for opportunity. They found their American Dream, and I got to live mine by becoming mayor of the city that embraced us.

In Boston, immigrants make up nearly one third of our population. We welcome and we cherish those who are fleeing persecution or simply seeking a better life. Boston, and the United States, is a proud nation of immigrants. We know our success — and our nation’s success — has always depended on the drive, talent, community, and culture of newcomers from around the world.

Last week, we held a press conference at City Hall, with a message for immigrants in Boston, fearful of the Administration’s threats: our City will continue to support you. When I visit schools and have young children tell me they are afraid of having their mother or father taken away, something is wrong. I will do everything lawful within my power to protect our immigrant neighbors.

To do this, we’ll continue to build trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities. For everyone’s safety, both documented and undocumented immigrants need to know they can report crimes without fear of being targeted over minor issues or mere suspicions. The Boston Police Department has worked hard to build this trust, and cities with “Trust Acts” are among the safest in the U.S.

On Saturday, we joined advocates, lawyers and elected officials at Logan Airport to protest the new Administration’s anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policy. Lawyers worked for free throughout the night to assist those trapped in airports throughout the country, including Boston. With their hard work, the courts took action to temporarily halt the ban.

On Sunday, we joined thousands and thousands of Bostonians in Copley Square to show our support for our Muslim brothers and sisters who have been targeted by the Trump Administration. Organized by the Council on American–Islamic Relations, we voiced our support for the Muslim people that live and work in our City, and those who come to Boston hoping for a better life. Looking out across the square, Reverend Laura Everett asked who in crowd was Muslim — every hand went up, united.

President Trump wants America to become a nation that will turn its back on immigrants seeking a better life, on families who have risked their lives to leave a warzone, on bright young men and women coming to America to make our world better.

But we will not back down from our values that make us who we are as a city. We will fight for our residents, whether immigrant or not, and provide the best quality of life for all Bostonians. I will use all of my power within lawful means to protect all Boston residents — even if that means using City Hall itself as a last resort.

The next four years will be hard. But if this week has been a preview of what’s to come, I know Boston will not change its essential character of inclusiveness. We have American values, common sense and the United States Constitution on our side, and we won’t quit — I hope Washington takes notice. And as Boston holds the Trump Administration accountable, I will be standing next to you.

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