On a day when the Trump administration unveiled new policies to intensify the hunt for and deportation of immigrants without legal status, numerous Pittsburgh-area voices mobilized to send a different narrative.
Civic, religious and immigrant-community leaders released statistics asserting that immigrants have brought more than $2 billion in annual spending power to the region’s economy and include thousands of entrepreneurs and homeowners.
But beyond the numbers, they lamented the direction of U.S. policies and rhetoric that emphasize deportations, wall-building and a sharp reduction in refugees.
“We’re losing so much of who we are in these executive orders,” said Gisele Fetterman at a news conference she and her husband, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, hosted in their home. “It’s very painful,” said Ms. Fetterman, an immigrant from Brazil. Historically, “America is a country of compassion.”
The news conference, already scheduled before the Trump administration announcements, released figures of a survey overseen by the New American Economy, a consortium that promotes immigration reform. The report said there are more than 80,000 foreign-born residents of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, and as of 2014, some 4,409 entrepreneurs and 19,066 homeowners. Coordinating the event was Change Agency, an enterprise that promotes countywide policies to better integrate immigrants.
Read the full story from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Local officials, clergy challenge the narrative of Trump’s immigration policies”