I’m deeply heartened that Philadelphia has taken the lead in showing solidarity with undocumented migrants and their rights to live a life of dignity with respect.
It was this Valentine’s Day, appropriately enough, when the Philadelphia City Council unanimously adopted a pro-migrants rights resolution urging the 113th Congress to enact a comprehensive immigration reform bill that recognizes second chances and redemption, the root causes of forced immigration, the country’s shameful history of exploitation and discrimination, the inequality of education and the rights of families to stay together, while upholding our values as a nation, promoting economic growth, and creating a fair immigration system guided by respect for the human rights of all persons.
Members of the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition worked with council members James Kenney and María D. Quiñones-Sánchez Sanchez to introduce the resolution. It should come as no surprise that the City of Philadelphia should pass this landmark resolution; after all, Philly is the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence. Philadelphia has consistently demonstrated a pro-migrant stance over the years. The city passed a resolution last year urging the state congressional delegation to support the DREAM Act. In 2009, the mayor signed an executive order prohibiting any city employee from asking anyone about their immigration status. This was immediately following the defeat of the Vitter-Bennett Amendment in the U.S. Senate, which would have added a new question on citizenship and immigration status to the 2010 census.
These all go to show that Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love (and dare I say Sisterly Love as well) also knows about liberty, freedom, and equality. I hope that other cities, states, and local governments across the country will follow Philadelphia’s lead in demonstrating a groundswell of support for humane, comprehensive immigration reform that aligns with LIRS principles. Those principles emphasize family unity and an earned and clear path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people in this country. For more information and action opportunities on comprehensive immigration reform, please visit http://lirs.org/cir/