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Outgoing US President Barack Obama is being urged to draft policies to assist Caribbean immigrants before he leaves office this month.
Cities for Action, a coalition of over 100 mayors and county executives from across the United States, is calling on Obama to commit to further protections for Caribbean and other immigrants in their communities.
In a letter to the American president, they recommended that his administration strengthen support for young immigrants with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by accepting early DACA renewal applications.
The programme permits young immigrants who are brought to the US illegally as children to remain in the country without threat of deportation and also to work legally.
The letter was signed by mayors from cities in Pennsylvania, Texas, Maryland, Alabama, Massachusetts, North Carolina, California, Rhode Island, Illinois, Iowa, New York, Tennessee, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Colorado, and Washington.
“As local government leaders throughout the country, we know that immigrants make our communities stronger economically, culturally and socially,” said the leaders.
“For this reason, we have enthusiastically embraced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme, expressed repeated support for and defence of your 2014 executive actions on immigration, and worked closely with your administration to promote citizenship and the economic, social, and civic integration of immigrants.”
In the letter to Obama who leaves office on January 20, at least 30 members thanked him for his administration’s support for immigrant families.
“On behalf of millions of our immigrant residents and their families, we thank you for the steps your administration has taken to support vulnerable immigrant populations, from bright young people who may only know life in this country, to immigrants who cannot return to their home countries because of conflict or natural disaster, as well as those who look to the US to lead on human rights and non-discrimination.
“These actions reflect the ideals of inclusion and refuge that our country is founded on,” the letter added.
The leaders also asked the US president to commit to “timely processing” by the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) for initial and renewal DACA applications, and to implement additional privacy protections for DACA holders “to reassure recipients that they will not be punished as a result of coming out of the shadows.