Picture of la few hundred lifejackets displayed on grass to represent the refugees that died trying to reach Europe.
  Lifejackets on display Monday in London represented refugees who died trying to reach Europe. Photo Credit Daniel Leal-Olivas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Our Immigrants, Our Strength

Op-Ed in the NY Times
20 September, 2016

“As the mayors of three great global cities — New York, Paris and London — we urge the world leaders assembling at the United Nations to take decisive action to provide relief and safe haven to refugees fleeing conflict and migrants fleeing economic hardship, and to support those who are already doing this work.

We will do our part, too. Our cities pledge to continue to stand for inclusivity, and that is why our cities support services and programs that help all residents, including our diverse immigrant communities, feel welcome, so that every resident feels part of our great cities.”

Cities are open to migrants. Cities have borders, yet do not use them to prevent people from coming and going. No one is prevented from entering a city. Staying will depend on finding a job and being able to pay the rent. But cities are magnets for migrants because this is where the jobs are. And cities have been good to migrants. There’s much less bigotry in cities than in smaller towns or rural areas where migrants are scarce: daily encounters with migrant communities help everyone see how differences are less important than commonalities. Cities have had the experience of finding themselves in need to welcome and accommodate millions of newcomers: rural exodus was one example, international migration another. In both cases, cities had to create new infrastructures such as roads, suburbs, schools and hospitals, put in place programmes to help them find jobs and learn the language and navigate a new environment, hire many new social workers, teachers, policemen and firefighters to service this new population. States should learn from cities how to manage population growth and welcome newcomers, working at better integrating them rather than fueling populist sentiment, knowing full well that this is where our collective wealth will come from. States should celebrate AND emulate the attractiveness of cities’ dynamic diversity.

To read the full article in the NY Times, please click here.

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