Our cities have long been a destination for immigrants, who bring economic, social and cultural benefits to our communities. There are numerous policies and programs cities can adopt to better welcome and integrate immigrants.
Though the vast majority of rules relating to civil rights issues are addressed by federal and state legislation and regulation, cities play a vital role in the implementation of laws and policies ensuring the protection of public health, safety, and general welfare; maintaining good open government; and providing every individual with an equal opportunity to participate fully in city life.
Cities not only play a significant role in eliminating discrimination, but also in eliminating less obvious barriers to social and political participation related to real or perceived fears and concerns and the unseen or misunderstood needs of residents. Cities should proactively support community members, particularly those who may find it difficult to express their concerns, fears, and needs. They should also actively seek community feedback to make sure that all areas of the community are represented.
Safeguarding the rights and safety of city residents and ensuring equal treatment and universal access to city life is critical to maintaining a vibrant and successful community. In order to accomplish this, cities must eliminate local discrimination and protect against destructive practices at the federal and state levels. At the same time, they should encourage residents to participate socially and politically through proactive policies, services, and programs with the goal of greater access and universal integration into city life.
As access to voting has been under attack across the country, city leaders can take a number of actions to help ensure equitable access to voting.
Inaction in most states has left cities and counties as the only viable options for strengthening workplace laws and providing critical worker protection.
In recent years, local law-enforcement agencies have been asked to play an increasingly significant role in immigration enforcement.