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Municipal leaders reaffirm commitment to immigrant communities

June 29, 2017

Immigrant Advancement

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Immigrant Advancement

Mayor Walsh and other officials and advocates gathered to discuss local policies and programs.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today hosted Municipal Leaders for Immigrant Advancement: Stronger Communities for All at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, a summit that brought together municipal government officials and advocates to share and explore local policies and programs that support immigrant communities.

As part of the summit, leaders of 10 cities and towns throughout Massachusetts signed a joint proclamation affirming their support of immigrant communities living in their jurisdictions and recognizing June as Immigrant Heritage Month. This Proclamation asserts common principles for the municipalities of Massachusetts and remains open for additional signatories.

"America has always been a Nation of Immigrants and Massachusetts a Commonwealth of Immigrants, and we will remain so," said Mayor Walsh. "Today we are joined together as leaders of cities and towns in Massachusetts to reaffirm our commitment to being welcoming communities, to lift up the great work each of us is doing in support of immigrant residents, and to make space for collaboration and the sharing of best practices moving forward. As local leaders we have a duty to act on behalf of the communities we serve, and when we come together, we have the ability to forge regional and national solutions."

"Ensuring our region remains welcoming to all residents is vital to the long-term economic health of Greater Boston," said Marc Draisen, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in Boston. "Cities and towns have asked for our assistance in navigating the impacts of federal policy on our immigrant communities, and we are committed to helping our municipal allies as well as law enforcement partners and local activists to stand up against threats to our values."

“The Institute is honored to host such a meaningful conversation inside our Senate Chamber,” said Jean MacCormack, President of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute. “We are inspired by the collaborative and actionable nature of today’s discussion, and hope it shows the important role that leaders from our government and active citizens can play in addressing the challenges facing immigrant communities from across the Commonwealth.”

The proclamation signing was followed by a panel moderated by Marcela García of the Boston Globe. Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone and Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes offered their perspectives as local government officials. Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and Irasema Garza from Oxfam America, discussed the potential of cities and towns to impact national policies and discourse related to immigrants. Breakout sessions focused on municipal actions across Massachusetts: leveraging local resources and building trust and safety within immigrant communities.

"In the City of Boston and throughout Massachusetts, immigrants are vital contributors to our communities," said Alejandra St. Guillen, Director of the Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement. "Today’s gathering of municipal officials to share ideas and viewpoints is an encouraging step forward. We will continue our work to help cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth develop and implement policies and programs that support immigrant communities."

“I applaud Mayor Walsh for his commitment to addressing the needs of immigrant families,” said Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, the Executive Director of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights. “As an immigrant and as an attorney representing communities in a constitutional challenge to President Trump's executive order against sanctuary cities, I know firsthand the importance of protecting and empowering all families and children. At a time of significant uncertainty and fear, I am honored to be a part of this powerful convening of elected officials, leaders, and community advocates who are joining forces in support of immigrant advancement.”

The initial Proclamation signers were:

  • Acton - Board of Selectmen Vice-Chair Katie Green
  • Amherst - Town Manager Paul Bockelman
  • Arlington - Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine
  • Belmont - Selectman Adam Dash
  • Beverly - Mayor Michael P. Cahill
  • Boston - Mayor Martin J. Walsh
  • Brockton - Councilor Shaynah Barnes
  • Brookline - Town Administrator Melvin Kleckner
  • Cambridge - City Manager Louis A. DePasquale* & Mayor E. Denise Simmons
  • Chelsea - City Manager Thomas G. Ambrosino*
  • Everett - Mayor Carlo DeMaria*
  • Lawrence - Mayor Daniel Rivera
  • Malden - Mayor Gary Christenson
  • Melrose - Mayor Robert J. Dolan*
  • New Bedford - Mayor Jon F. Mitchell*
  • Newton - Mayor Setti Warren*
  • Salem - Mayor Kimberley Driscoll*
  • Somerville - Mayor Joseph Curtatone
  • Worcester - Mayor Joseph M. Petty*

*Signed electronically

The proclamation is open for ongoing signatures by municipal government leaders. Interested officials can contact Diego Huezo, Government Affairs Specialist, Metropolitan Area Planning Council at dhuezo@mapc.org.

The event was sponsored by the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement (MOIA), Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, Oxfam America, and Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

Video: Watch the forum