When I ran for Mayor, you often heard me say that I wanted Houston to be a city with no limits, a city of hope, opportunity and inspiration. That is the city I, along with your help, hope to continue to build.
As the nation’s fourth largest city and most diverse metropolitan area in America, Houston is home to people from all over the world. One in four Houstonians is foreign-born; over 140 languages are spoken in our neighborhoods, and 90 countries are officially represented in the consular corps. Immigrants and refugees are our neighbors. They are the families at our schools, churches, temples and mosques. They contribute to Houston’s vibrant economy by running small businesses and working in all of our diverse industries.
I know that many in our community are scared and uncertain about how they may be impacted by recent decisions in Washington D.C. I do not agree with the president’s decisions and find them contrary to the values on which this country was built.
As mayor, I don’t pick and choose who I represent; I represent everyone. Our police officers do not profile, and they are not ICE. We don’t build walls; we build relationships and understanding. We don’t tear families apart; we help them to stay together, and we, certainly, don’t hate. In this city, it doesn’t matter where you come from, what you look like, what faith you practice or whom you love, we will stand with you.
In addition to opposing the President’s recent actions on immigration, I have joined many other mayors in asking the White House to maintain the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. I have also launched the City of Houston’s Office of New Americans to serve immigrant and refugee communities living in Houston and help implement our comprehensive Welcoming Houston plan. We are working to improve coordination among groups serving immigrants and refugees and assessing service gaps. The primary goal of this plan will be to make sure that anyone who works and lives in the city of Houston can feel welcome and a part of the city that we all call home.
The City of Houston will not tolerate discrimination of any kind or hate crimes and threats against our residents. Our police department and our Municipal Courts will always respect your constitutional rights, and we will ensure that victims and witnesses of crimes can come forward without fear of retaliation, regardless of where they are from. If you feel threatened or are the victim of a hate crime, please call the City of Houston Police Department’s Hate Crime Hotline at 713-308- 8737. If you are an immigrant or refugee and you need information or help, please call the Office of New Americans at 832-393- 1010 or visit www.welcominghouston.org. We will investigate these crimes fully and make our services available to all our residents.
We are, and we will remain, a Welcoming City, and no one should be afraid to live, work or study here.