Lancaster looks to be ‘welcoming city’ for immigrants, refugees


The BBC once called Lancaster “America’s refugee capital”.

“We have a long history of being a welcoming community,” Mayor Danene Sorace said.  

Now, Lancaster could be the first city in the state to be certified as a “welcoming city.” City officials recently submitted an application for the recognition.

“The intention is to welcome new Americans and immigrants who are coming to the United States,” Sorace said.

The recognition would be different than a sanctuary city.

President Donald Trump has threatened to send migrants to so-called sanctuary cities, cities often seen as places that limit cooperation with federal immigration agents.

Sorace said it’s been their practice to not ask residency status when talking to citizens.

“We are not in the business of implementing or enforcing any laws related to immigration,” she said. “That is not the role of municipal police and it’s not something our city has done or will do in the future.”

Sorace said on a basic level, the certification would improve services. She said the certification would have more city employees versed in multiple languages and build connections for those moving from around the globe. 

“People from around the world live in our city,” Sorace said. “We will be a better city the more that we are engaging people who have diverse experiences, perspectives. As a community, this is our strength.”

Three other cities across the country are recognized as “welcoming cities”. They are Dayton, Ohio; Louisville, Kentucky, and Salt Lake County, Utah.

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