(WHMT) – Pennsylvania is a long way from the southern border but several mayors from across the Commonwealth are asking President Biden to protect the people here illegally who are still waiting on clearer policies from Congress.
Mayor Michael Helfrich (D-York) said, “I’m the son of an immigrant, and I know how much immigrants can contribute to our community.”
York’s Mayor Michael Helfrich is one of six Democratic mayors across Pennsylvania who signed off on this letter to President Biden that urges him to use an executive order to protect undocumented immigrants from “extremist politicians propose policies that could ultimately upend their lives.”
Daniel Alvalle, Casa State Director said, “They are neighbors. They work alongside us. They are our families. They are our friends. Everyone deserves safety.”
A morning rally in York drove home the “you are welcome here” message.
Representative Ismael Smith-Wade (D-Lancaster) said, “For 400 years, this has been a country where anybody seeking opportunity, safety or liberty can come and we are not going to stop now.”
Helfrich said, “We shine brighter because of our different shades. We are culturally rich because of our diverse population.”
But there is diversity of opinion on immigration.
Governor Ron Desantis (R-Florida) said, “And so I am going to declare it a national emergency.”
And it will be a hot-button topic in next year’s presidential race.
Desantis said, “I’m not going to send troops to Ukraine, but I am going to send them to our southern border.”
And what do Pennsylvania mayors say to fellow mayors on the border who are also asking Biden for help and feeling overwhelmed?
“Certainly there should be a process in place to bring people in and to make them part of our community like we have for hundreds of years. But that has to be a good, solid process,” said Helfrich.
But immigration is partisan and polarizing and solid policy has been beyond D.C.’s grasp but not beyond an individual community’s embrace.
Anu Banks, an activist said, “This is what our community looks like. we’re only one race. we’re the human race. the only difference between us is cultures we respect cultures because that gives us our identity.”