By calling out the National Guard, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello is casting endangered asylum seekers as alien invaders. Local media predictably sensationalize this insinuation; Bello must take responsibility to counteract it with policies and messages of welcome and support.
We do not need a Governor Greg Abbott of the North. As his reelection campaign proceeds, Bello should not seek political advantage from sounding tough on crime or immigration — or seem to conflate the two.
For two centuries Rochester has appropriately and proudly worn the mantle of Sanctuary City. Indeed, apart from a number of indigenous persons living here, Rochester is a city of immigrants. We value the many local organizations and volunteer groups that come forward to support newcomers. These groups can lead the city and county in setting the proper tone and the best policies. Bello must listen closely to them.
We can also find mutual benefit here: the Rochester area is flush with job openings, and asylum seekers are eager to work and put down roots. That’s how a true community is built. Instead of falling for yet another way to pit working people against one another, we should welcome newcomers who can enrich our community with their energies and vibrant cultures.
All human beings and families enjoy an internationally recognized legal right to seek asylum and safety when their lives are threatened. Thus we call upon our county executive and governor to adopt a better stance. They must do everything possible to welcome this latest wave of refugees, and to prepare sensitively for hosting future refugees escaping the effects of the climate emergency, war, and violence.
Democratic Socialists of America