Mayors of NYC, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Seattle, Madison, Hartford, Santa Fe & Others Issue Letter To Congress

Mayors Are Part of Cities United For Immigration Action Coalition

Cities Call on Congress to Address Our Broken Immigration System

WASHINGTON – A group of 21 big city mayors, including New York City’s Bill de Blasio, Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel, Philadelphia’s Michael Nutter and Baltimore’s Stephanie Rawlings-Blake have joined forces to tell Congressional leaders they are opposed to bills withholding federal funds to so-called “Sanctuary Cities.”

Saying “overbroad immigration enforcement undermines safety for all,” the mayors urged members of Congress in a letter issued today to refrain from politicizing the horrific tragedy in San Francisco as a pretext to fuel anti-immigrant sentiment.

Bills in the House and the Senate would withhold federal money for states or local governments that have policies that seek to create safe and welcoming communities for all residents. The mayors who have signed today’s letter to Congress are part of Cities United For Immigration Action, a coalition of nearly 100 cities and counties, launched by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti that is leading the effort to promote and execute these reforms nationwide.

The full text of the mayors’ letter is below:

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Reid, Speaker Boehner, and Minority Leader Pelosi:

The undersigned are members of Cities United for Immigration Action, a coalition of mayors and county leaders committed to strengthening our communities by keeping families together, growing our economies, and fostering trust in law enforcement and government. We write to oppose legislation that would undermine our efforts to maintain welcoming communities and uphold the safety of all residents.

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Kathryn Steinle. At this time of mourning, we urge our members of Congress to refrain from politicizing this tragedy and fueling an anti-immigrant sentiment.

Cities across the country have experience with balancing the desire to be welcoming places for immigrant families with the need to protect public safety, and we will continue to do so as the Department of Homeland Security rolls out its new enforcement program.

Our cities and counties are home to millions of immigrant residents who live, work, and contribute to the vitality of our communities. As local leaders, we are uniquely positioned to make the best decisions about serving our residents and ensuring public safety.

Local policies on immigration detainers and cooperation with Immigration Customs and Enforcement reflect informed judgments on how best to promote public safety through strong relationships between immigrant communities and local government. Overbroad immigration enforcement undermines safety for all. A 2013 study found that 44% of Latinos surveyed reported being less likely to contact police officers if they have been the victim of a crime due to concerns about immigration enforcement.  When immigrant residents can report crime without fear of deportation, immigrants are more willing to engage with local police and government institutions, our streets and neighborhoods are safer, and those who commit crime are more likely to be brought to justice.

As the Department of Homeland Security institutes the Priority Enforcement Program, we seek to work with DHS and ICE to focus on risks to public safety while maintaining welcoming communities.

Policies that support immigrant integration make our communities stronger. Instead of penalizing localities that seek to create safe and welcoming communities, we call on Congress to address our broken immigration system by enacting comprehensive immigration reform that reflects welcoming values.


Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore, MD
James Diossa, Mayor of Central Falls, RI
Mark Kleinschmidt, Mayor of Chapel Hill, NC
Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago, IL
Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, OH
Domenick Stampone, Mayor of Haledon, NJ
Pedro E. Segarra, Mayor of Hartford, CT
Dawn Zimmer, Mayor of Hoboken, NJ
Paul Soglin, Mayor of Madison, WI
Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York, NY
Ras Baraka, Mayor of Newark, NJ
Michael Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia, PA
William Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh, PA
Adrian O. Mapp, Mayor of Plainfield, NJ
Charlie Hales, Mayor of Portland, OR
Javier Gonzales, Mayor of Santa Fe, NM
Kevin McKeown, Mayor of Santa Monica, CA
Edward Murray, Mayor of Seattle, WA
Marilyn Strickland, Mayor of Tacoma, WA
Muriel Bowser, Mayor of Washington, D.C.
Fredrick Sykes, Mayor of West Covina, CA