Immigrants: Mayor Gets It Right

Bruce Maples (bruceinlouisville@gmail.com)
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Amidst all the fearful, hateful, and xenophobic comments about refugees and immigrants spread around the country in the past week, it is refreshing to see some elected officials standing for empathy, humanity, and compassion. Here in The Ville, which bills itself as a Compassionate City, it was especially gratifying to see our own mayor take a strong stand.

When it comes to deciding how to treat immigrants, Mayor Fischer gets it right.

From the press release:

Mayor Greg Fischer is calling on citizens to join him and leaders of Compassionate Louisville in a community rally Tuesday evening to denounce the recent terrorist attacks — and to honor American values that celebrate and welcome immigrants. The event is meant to demonstrate the city’s solidarity with Paris, Beirut, and Mali in the wake of terrorist attacks and to show the world that cities can welcome immigrants while they also can be safe.

Note the last sentence: “… cities can welcome immigrants while they also can be safe.” Wow — you mean we can actually figure out how to do both? Imagine that. (Certain other politicians, take note.)

And a quote from the Mayor himself:

On this week of Thanksgiving, we must celebrate and give thanks that we are a nation of immigrants,” Fischer said. “We are also a city of immigrants, from the early Irish, Italian, and German immigrants who built Louisville to today’s immigrants from Cuba, Mexico, Syria, Iraq, and other nations. We must also understand that people’s concerns around safety must be addressed while we hold true to our American value of welcoming the persecuted and our city value of compassion.

In one of our earlier Aaron Smith cartoons, we chided the Mayor for not joining other mayors in supporting certain environmental regulations. It’s only fair, then, that we also give him props for signing THIS letter:

Fischer last week signed onto a letter with 62 mayors from 28 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico urging Congress to take no action that will prevent Syrian refugees from entering the United States after they have completed the screening process.

And finally, catch this last sentence of the press release:

The rally Tuesday will be preceeded by local Muslim leaders serving food at Wayside Christian Mission at 4:30 pm.

That’s one of the most encouraging things I’ve read this week.

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We all have times when our city, or our city’s leaders, frustrate or confound us. That’s one reason we started this site – to call out those times, and challenge us to do better.

But there are also times when this city, and this city’s leaders, make us proud to live in The Ville. This is one of those times. When some in this country seem to have forgotten what America stands for, when some have lost their heads or their hearts, our mayor and our religious leaders have kept both head and heart firmly grounded in the ideals we say we live by.

Big props to all who helped put this together. And big props to our Mayor for being out in front on it.

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Featured image photo by Fibonacci Blue

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