Five California mayors urge welcome of refugees

The mayors of Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, West Hollywood and West Sacramento are among 62 mayors from 28 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico who wrote to Congress on Friday urging it not to prevent screened Syrian refugees from entering the United States.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors’ letter to the House and Senate notes the conference adopted a resolution in June 2014 that “recognizes this nation’s leadership in protecting refugees and celebrates the contributions refugees make to their communities.”

That policy describes the U.S. refugee resettlement program, administered by the Departments of State and Health and Human Services, “as a unique and robust public-private partnership of the federal government, state and local governments, non-profit agencies, and individuals” which subjects people to “the most rigorous screening and security vetting of any category of traveler to the United States,” the letter said.

“Our nation has always been a beacon of hope for those seeking peace and protection from persecution,” the letter said. “We urge you to take no action that will jeopardize this rich and proud heritage.”

Among the signers were Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath, and West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon.

Besides those from California, mayors from Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puero Rico, South Caroline, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington signed the letter.

Though not a signer of this letter, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf – in whose city at least 16 Syrian refugees have re-settled since 2011 – said Monday that “now is a time for us, as Americans, as Oaklanders to turn toward each other – not on each other. We should not let fear and anger lull us into accepting the false choice between safety and compassion. We can keep our communities safe at the same time that we show compassion for those in need.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    What will the mayor have to say after the massacre in his city?

  • Seems like a non sequitur, given that only one Paris terrorist appears to have hid among 4.2 million Syrian refugees while the rest were French or Belgian nationals.

  • Elwood


    Do you think they’re stupid?

    Give it time.

  • Elwood

    I think there is only one quality worse than hardness of heart and that is softness of head. – Theodore Roosevelt

  • I’d only think they were stupid if they hid themselves among the most-vetted class of people who enter this country. They’d face less scrutiny and potentially get here quicker with tourist, business or student visas, like the 9/11 attackers did.

  • DonWood

    Interesting that these city mayors are willing to bring Syrian refugees to their city. Then why is San Diego the California city which has imported the most Syrian refugees. What does San Diego mayor Kevin Falcouner say about this?

  • Elwood

    “the most-vetted class of people who enter this country”

    By whom? How?

    There are no records where they’re from. Any records which may have existed have been destroyed.

    The FBI, CIA and Homeland Security agree that there is no way to vet these people.

    Perhaps you have discovered a method of which they are unaware?

  • Willis James

    I expect the vetting process will be more effective than the pre-boarding process used by the TSA at airports.
    As investigated by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General.

    Now what was that TSA failure rate….hmm, I can’t recall…..

  • JohnW

    Syrian Americans include singer Paula Abdul, former Indiana GOP governor Mitch Daniels, Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Jobs, and many others. Terrorists all!

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Michael Moore says there’s plenty of room for Arab migrants in Detroit and Flint

  • Elwood

    Michael Moore is a big, fat, ugly liar.

  • Elwood

    I look forward to Josh Earnest (love that name) explaining this to us.

    The first item in the first two steps is “collect identifying documents”. This should be very interesting as there are no documents.

    IMHO, the entire document is a compilation of bureaucratic bull$hit.

  • JohnW

    Actually, Moore offered his apartment in my hometown of Traverse City, MI, which is a very popular and prosperous resort area of Northern Michigan — far distant from Detroit and Flint geographically, politically, demographically, culturally etc. Despite being a Republican area, the residents there love Michael Moore for the film and comedy festivals he puts on there and his restoration of the State Theater.