As President Ronald Reagan addressed the nation from the Oval Office one final time on January 11, 1989, he shared his vision of our country.
To Reagan, America was “a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace — a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”
What Reagan asked on that winter night, we must ask ourselves today: “How Stands the City?”
Our City struggles mightily.
Under the guise of public safety, we have undermined local law enforcement in a zeal to target undocumented immigrants.
Under the guise of rule of law, young people protected from deportation through the DACA program are now under legal attack.
Under the guise of national security, we have banned grandparents from certain countries, and we have left refugees fleeing terror and violence to fend for themselves.
We are no safer as a result of any of these actions.
In fact, the 9/11 Commission wrote, “Our borders and immigration system, including law enforcement, ought to send a message of welcome, tolerance, and justice to members of immigrant communities in the United States and in their countries of origin.”
Instead, our political leadership is fomenting fear and division, turning away from the values of freedom and liberty President Reagan held so dear.
In today’s America, we have come to know immigrants and refugees in our communities.
We have realized our child’s best friend is undocumented and a recipient of deferred action.
We have met the mother one pew over in church who is undocumented and longs for her children to join her in safety.
We have enjoyed many a meal at the local restaurant started by a refugee family.
We cannot unremember these mothers, fathers, children. Colleagues. Neighbors. Friends.
In the weeks and months ahead, your voices are more important than ever.
Join us to make America better.