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Elorza’s Stance on Immigration Called “Lip Service” by Progressive Labor Leader

Thursday, March 23, 2017

 

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza announced this week that he is joining a group of Mayors nationwide in "supporting immigrant communities,"  but one local community leader is calling his statements "lip service" -- and is calling on Elorza to take greater action. 

"Mayor Elorza held a (yet another) press conference on immigration. If we are to protect our people, all of them, you must have a plan. Pass the CSA will do so much more to protect our community than a presser," wrote Mike Araujo in a post on Facebook. Araujo is the Executive Director at RI Jobs with Justice

While Providence - and Rhode Island - are on the federal government's recent list of jurisdictions that have enacted policies limiting cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for its policy of not honoring ICE detainers, Araujo said that Providence - and Elorza - could do more. 

"Order police to not use electronic fingerprinting that automatically send to ICE linked systems. Instruct local neighborhood watchers to look out for ICE raiders. Order schools to open for shelter. He literally has not done anything," wrote Araujo. 

Announcement and Reaction

Elorza's announcement Tuesday said that the Mayor was "proud to join a coalition of over 60 mayors in 31 states to stand up and support our immigrant communities."

“Today, our country is great, not in spite of, but because of our immigrant heritage. As Mayor, I will continue to reassure our immigrant community that they are welcome and appreciated in our city, to support our Dreamers, and to work with my colleagues across the country to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform," said Elorza.

Araujo spoke to the lack of action on the Community Safety Act (CSA) by Elorza as being at odds with his statements of working to protect the community. 

"[Elorza] made public comments at a public forum to pass to the CSA -- it was a clear statement that affects youth of color, and he said he would do it," said Araujo. "And it was for passing it is original form, including real accountability and oversight of police forces and non-cooperation of police officers -- and to slowly walk that back is disturbing."

Araujo acknowledged that the CSA had to go through the City Council first, which has yet to take action. 

Elorza, pictured in the meme posted by Araujo on Facebook.

"The Council needs to be moved, and needs to come to consensus as to how it works in its entirety," said Araujo. "The CSA as been the product of several years of consultation with the council and police. This is a real workable document." 

"And as far as immigration goes, this is the most clear tool the [Elorza] administration would have above all than being just a sanctuary city in name," said Araujo. "We saw the rush following Trump -- if you take him at his word -- that communities are at risk. In Colorado, for example, school departments issued statements that no children could be removed from school. They said this community is committed to each student and family."

"That is just one step. Right now, it's effectively a 'non-policy' that Providence is a sanctuary city," said Araujo. "Arguably for Providence, there are two clear paths. There's a legal path -- and I'm not an attorney -- but policy-wise says we protect all our residents, school departments and our youth, and directs police departments not to comp with ICE."

"And there's the social part, in how welcome people into our community, with services, housing, food," said Araujo. "In Providence, because we're so beautifully mixed, that what's we do."

 

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