By Tom Fitton
The Republican mayor of the nation’s eighth largest city is dedicating $70,000 to hire an “immigrant affairs manager” that will help facilitate a successful integration of refugees and immigrants. The goal is to implement the orders of a community-written blueprint that aims to welcome immigrants as they transition into the city. Known as the “Strategic Plan on Immigrant and Refugee Integration,” the document was created with the input of open borders groups, residents and a “cross-sector steering committee” that direct city officials to skirt federal law.
It is unclear how much taxpayer money California’s second largest city, San Diego, will end up spending to accommodate immigrants. Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the new $70,000 position this week at a press conference on the grounds of a local museum dedicated to celebrating America’s cultural diversity. “The preservation and presentation of the immigrant experience in the United States is our central commitment,” according to the museum’s website.
At the press conference Faulconer, who previously served on the city council, said this: “Immigrants from around the globe help define our city. San Diego has long been a destination for people in search of opportunity, refugees looking to rebuild their lives, and new citizens who are proud to call America home. San Diego’s economy, workforce and future growth are connected to our ability to welcome new Americans into our community.”
Let’s take a look at the proposals in the integration blueprint that the city’s new immigrant affairs manager is supposed to help implement. They include creating economic opportunity for immigrants, tweaking education to accommodate them, granting them inclusive access to taxpayer-funded services, improving civic engagement, and safe communities. The city is supposed to facilitate the career advancement of immigrants through job placement, rights protection, and inclusive recruitment. This is to include promoting immigrant entrepreneurship, financial literacy among newcomers, and the reduction of barriers toward home ownership. Not sure how that’s going to happen since San Diego is one of the nation’s most expensive cities to live in with among the highest home prices.
The plan also calls on the city to enhance a multicultural curriculum in kindergarten through high school for “newcomer students” and remove barriers to existing education programs. That means developing a curriculum that includes ethnic studies, immigration history, cross-cultural competency, and anti-bias and tolerance education. The integration blueprint also demands free tuition at public colleges for immigrants. Inclusive access means the city must expand language access to ensure public services are “user-friendly and culturally-responsive.”
To promote civic engagement among immigrants, San Diego officials must develop immigrant and refugee leaders and increase naturalizations and civic participation among new and aspiring Americans. To create a safe community for immigrants, law enforcement must be properly trained to serve “multilingual and multicultural communities,” the document states.
Under the plan, consular identifications, common among illegal immigrants from Mexico, will be accepted across city agencies. Other forms of “foreign citizenship documents” will also be accepted, according to the recommendations. Local police and all city officials will also shield illegal immigrants from federal authorities. This appears as advocating for policies that help protect and advance the rights of immigrants and refugees at the county, state and federal level. “Oppose policies that target or profile immigrants and endanger their status,” the strategic plan states, referring to deportation.
The list of demands goes on and on and it appears elected officials in San Diego plan to meet them. “It’s important our communities here in San Diego know they don’t stand alone,” said City Council President Georgette Gomez. “Our policies and actions must reflect a city that is welcoming. I look forward to working with the Mayor and my colleagues to help implement the plan.”