For Immediate Release: December 14, 2021
Contact: [email protected]
CITIES FOR ACTION LEADERS CALL ON BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO EXPAND PROTECTIONS FOR AFGHAN AND HAITIAN MIGRANTS & PROVIDE FEDERAL FUNDING TO ASSIST WELCOMING COMMUNITIES
26 mayors from across the country sent a letter to the Biden Administration today calling for expanded parole protections for Afghan and Haitian migrants and federal funding to assist localities in addressing housing challenges and legal service needs for both populations.
The letter explains how establishing a categorical humanitarian parole program for Afghans and Haitians could offer protection from deportation, employment authorization, and access to critical benefits for vulnerable Afghans and Haitians who may not otherwise qualify for existing forms of relief including Temporary Protected Status (TPS), refugee status, and Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs).
The letter also outlines the need for federal funds to assist local communities that are providing housing and legal support for these target populations. By allocating federal resources to local communities across the country to facilitate resettlement efforts—including securing long-term affordable housing and training pro bono attorneys to prepare and file asylum applications—our new Afghan and Haitian neighbors have a higher chance of safely and successfully integrating into American society.
As the Biden administration works to address resource gaps for migrants affected by humanitarian disasters, local government leaders urge their federal partners to act rapidly in providing critical protections to at-risk Afghans and Haitians and delivering funds for the communities working tirelessly to assist them. The letter emphasizes how such protections and resources would align with the administration’s vision of a fair, functional, and humane immigration system.
New York, NY Mayor Bill de Blasio: “The United States should be a global leader when it comes to providing care and compassion to Afghan and Haitian migrants as they settle into their new homes,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New York City will always serve as a refuge for all, however we need the support of the federal government to ensure we can provide each new resident with the resources they need to thrive.”
Berkeley, CA Mayor Jesse Arreguín: “America is a nation of immigrants, and our diversity gives us strength. When the world looks to us for assistance, we must not turn our backs on them. Advancing policy to support our Afghan and Haitian neighbors is not just the morally right thing to do, it is a reflection of our American values.”
Jersey City, NJ Mayor Steven M. Fulop: “Jersey City is America’s Golden Door and the most diverse city in the nation—there is no question that immigrants make us stronger. The families of our Haitian and Afghan residents are fleeing dire humanitarian crises and we stand with them, calling for orderly, expedient, and fair ways to be welcomed as parolees, asylees, and eventually, as newly naturalized citizens.”
Fremont, CA Mayor Lily Mei: “Fremont is home to one of the largest Afghan populations in the U.S. and we have been working closely with local organizations, including the Pars Equality Center, who have been processing thousands of Humanitarian parole applications since mid-August. We are in a time of crisis and need more assistance with the oversight of the processing of Humanitarian Parole Applications and at the local level, with resettlement. I urge the Administration to do more to expand parole protections, lower the evidentiary requirements to immediately grant parole applications and commit federal funding to assist our local communities to support resettlement services, housing, and legal service needs.”
Emeryville, CA Mayor John J. Bauters: "The City of Emeryville cares about the safety and security of all community members, regardless of national origin or immigration status. We call on the Biden Administration to fund the housing and legal resources our Afghan and Haitian neighbors need to ensure that their resettlement into our communities is successful."
Saint Paul, MN Mayor Melvin Carter: “Ensuring communities across our nation can continue to welcome new Americans is vital,” said Mayor Melvin Carter. “Alongside fellow cities, we stand ready to welcome all those seeking refuge in Saint Paul.”
About Cities for Action
Cities for Action is a coalition of over 150 U.S. mayors and county executives working to advocate for and promote civic inclusion of our immigrant communities. Click HERE to see a list of Cities for Action mayors and county executives. To learn more about our work, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.