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Bloomington is a welcoming place, and so is Indiana.  It was an affront to Hoosier hospitality and American values generally to hear AG Jeff Sessions reiterate the inhumane practice of family separation just last week when he visited Fort Wayne.  We condemn this zero-tolerance immigration enforcement policy that has separated 2,000 children from their parents over the last six weeks. And not just we condemn this grotesque policy. Former First Lady Laura Bush. And nearly every religious institution around the globe.

In the midst of the current historic global humanitarian crisis of more than 65 million displaced people, we denounce the president’s assertion that, “The United States will not be a migrant camp . . . and it will not be a refugee holding facility.” This morally bankrupt position betrays core American values and abdicates our responsibility as a global leader.  Is not the story of America, in fact, the story as a migrant camp?  “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Native Americans were made migrants in their own land. And everyone else who came here came either in chains of bondage or as migrants from their lands. AMERICA IS NOTHING BUT A MIGRANT CAMP. AND IT IS A BEAUTIFUL CAMP THAT HAS BEEN MADE BY THESE MIGRANTS, US…..IT HAS BEEN THE BEST OF THESE COUNTRIES, OVERALL, THAT HAVE COME TO OUR SHORES AND MADE THIS COUNTRY A BEACON OF FREEDOM AND OPPORTUNITY -- IMPERFECT AND UNFINISHED, BUT A BEACON OF HOPE TO ALL.

So we must do what we can to repeal inhumane immigration policies at the federal level and continue to serve as a haven ourselves. We must not let darkness win, but must shine more light and show more love. That is what World Refugee Day is about. 

I am proud to be the Mayor of a city where we have such principled and energetic people as those who are fueling the Bloomington Refugee Support Network and No Lost Generation.   Your activism in the face of unconscionable federal policies is much needed. Thank you for the work you are doing.  I encourage all of our residents to join in these efforts and to insist that our representatives in Congress address the critical issue of immigration in a humane and practical way befitting of our American values.  Bloomington is an international city, and one that has a history of having welcomed and assisted those fleeing persecution around the world and in our own country. 
 
I could go on and on. But let me just end simply by saying America’s national government does not speak for all of us all the time. We are a diverse country with different views. And To all of you who have come to Bloomington from other countries, we are glad you are here and we are here, shoulder go shoulder with you, to help you thrive, because we know you will help us all thrive. Welcome, and let’s stay together.  
 

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