Monday, January 30, 2017

Mayor Taylor is the Only Leader of a Major Texas City Who Has Not Condemned Refugee Ban

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 5:50 PM

  • Sara Luna Ellis
Mayor Ivy Taylor remains the only mayor of a major Texas city who has not condemned President Donald Trump's sweeping travel ban on immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim countries. She's one of few mayors of a large U.S. city to stay quiet.

By now, the mayors of Houston, Dallas, Austin, and Fort Worth have all spoken out against the Trump's Friday executive order that stranded hundreds of legal immigrants in airports across the world, simply based on their nationality. Trump specifically blocked citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days — 120 days if they were refugees. Syrian refugees were blocked indefinitely.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings called the "bad policy" a threat to the city and the entire state — calling out Trump for creating a false sense of fear around Muslim refugees. In Austin, Mayor Steve Alder said that the city's immigrant community "should feel welcome and safe," in Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner said the White House needs to reconsider the ban, and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said the ban caused "deep alarm."

But Mayor Taylor has yet to mention the ban, let alone condemn it. When we asked Taylor spokeswoman Leslie Garza earlier today why there hasn't been a peep out of San Antonio, her only response was to ask what our deadline was (we've yet to get an actual answer or statement from the mayor's office on the matter). (*Update:  Minutes after this story posted, we got this prepared statement from Taylor: “I’m opposed to any discriminatory policies that infringe on our rights, and I believe religious freedom is at the core of the American experience. As Mayor, I will continue my focus on strengthening our basic services, job creation & training and keeping our neighborhoods safe while San Antonio remains a welcoming, compassionate and diverse city.”)

Taylor is one of the few mayors of a major American city who didn't speak out against Trump's refugee ban. Mayors in Philadelphia, Chicago and Phoenix all went to their city's international airports to rally against the ban with other local protesters.

Meanwhile, other city and state leaders joined hundreds of San Antonians in protest Sunday — at the city's Main Plaza and the San Antonio International Airport — publicly denouncing the president's sweeping order.

"When I was watching the news earlier, I said to myself 'This is not a country I recognize'," said State Representative Diego Bernal, through a megaphone, to the hundreds gathered at San Antonio's Main Plaza Sunday. "But right now, this is absolutely the city that I know and recognize and love."

Councilman Ron Niernberg, who's running against Taylor for mayor in May, also spoke out against the ban Sunday evening.

"The recent executive order on immigration, which has flung members of our community into panic and confusion, is wrong," he wrote in a statement. "We are a better country than that and, as Americans all across the country are showing, we won’t stand for bigotry or discrimination. A united America is a stronger America."

This isn't the first time Mayor Taylor has stayed silent on a major discrimination issue. Her name was also missing from a list published earlier this month of 200 U.S. mayors (including four from Texas) who openly stand against LGBT discrimination.

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