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Borough Leaders Condemn Trump Immigration Remark

by on January 16, 2018 3:27 PM

While recognizing National Day of Racial Healing in the borough, State College Mayor Don Hahn and Borough Council President Evan Myers on Tuesday condemned President Donald Trump for a remark last week during an immigration meeting in which he reportedly used profanity to describe Haiti, El Salvador and African nations.

"We condemn the unspeakable words by President Trump attacking immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries during the course of negotiations over immigration in the Oval Office," Hahn and Myers said in a joint statement. "His remarks defy American values and identity. We are a nation of immigrants and have a rich history of welcoming immigrants from around the globe — children, men, women, students, scholars, scientists and refugees."

During a bipartisan meeting last week with lawmakers to discuss immigration reform, Trump, according to multiple reports, asked, "“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump denied making the remark. Some senators who were in attendance confirmed that was the language used by Trump, others said they did not recall him using the profanity, and White House staff said it was possible he had used a different profanity, according to reports.

Hahn and Myers said that, "State College rejects the politics of divisiveness, renews its commitment to tolerance and understanding among races and nationalities and celebrates the diversity of those who contribute to our community."

They cited resolutions focused on diversity and inclusion passed by borough council in December 2016 and January 2017. The first condemned "Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, sexism and homophobia, in rhetoric or action." The second resolution stated council's position that immigration enforcement should be a federal, not local responsibility; opposed mandatory registration based on religion or ethnicity; and affirmed the longstanding policy of State College Police not to ask victims or witnesses of crimes about immigration status. It did not, however, establish the borough as a "sanctuary city" or change police policies.

"We stand by the principles in these resolutions and will continue to serve and support residents in our community," Hahn and Myers wrote. "We support a legislative solution for long-term residents who contribute to America in meaningful ways; Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, Dreamers and those fleeing extraordinary conditions."

They said that the international community in State College makes valuable contributions to education, culture and the economy and that history has shown diversity "leads to innovation and entrepreneurship, which leads to greatness and achievement."

"It is the abandonment of these ideals, the refusal to adapt to changing circumstances, and an obsessive glorification of an idealized, but troubled past that will make America mediocre for the first time in our nation's history," they wrote

Hahn issued a proclamation at last week's borough council meeting recognizing National Day of Racial Healing in the borough. 

National Day of Racial Healing is an initiative of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a private foundation that works with communities to help vulnerable children in school and life. Hundreds of communities and organizations participate in the day each year.

"Children have the right to be provided every opportunity to learn, grown and thrive in nurturing environments that don't violate their safety, dignity and humanity," the proclamation states. "Racial healing is a vital and crucial commitment to the education, social, mental and overall well-being of our children."



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at geoff.rushton@statecollege.com or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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