Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Monday pledged to support young immigrants who have been granted a temporary reprieve from deportation and vowed the city would forcefully prosecute any hate crimes targeting newcomers.
Many of these immigrants have grown anxious since Republican Donald Trump's stunning upset in the presidential election. Reed did not mention Trump in the prepared statement he issued Monday. But Trump campaigned hard on cracking down on illegal immigration and canceling an Obama administration program that has approved deportation deferrals and work permits for more 741,000 immigrants across the nation, including 23,177 in Georgia.
Reed also did not address whether Atlanta would fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities, if Trump makes good on his campaign promise and cancels the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, and seeks to carry out mass deportations. A spokeswoman said the Democrat was not available for an interview. Meanwhile, mayors of other major cities across the nation are vowing to oppose the Trump administration’s plans for immigration enforcement, even if they risk losing millions of dollars in federal funding.
“Atlanta is a city that historically has stood up for the civil and human rights of everyone, but we live in uncertain times,” Reed said. “We know that many Atlantans are fearful and concerned about their families. They question whether their freedoms will be upheld and lawfully protected. They worry that they will suffer persecution from a surge in bigotry.”
“Any threat to our constitutionally guaranteed liberty is a threat to all Atlantans,” Reed continued. “We will continue to vigorously protect and support immigrant students who are DACA recipients. We value the economic and cultural vitality these young people bring to our city.”
Reed also urged victims of hate crimes and intimidation to call 911.
“Atlanta will not tolerate acts of hatred against our residents and visitors. We will prosecute crimes of this nature to the fullest extent of the law,” he said. “It is the sworn duty of Atlanta police officers to protect and serve our people regardless of their country of origin, the religion they practice, or the language they speak.”
Asked whether Atlanta Police Chief George Turner was available for an interview, a spokesman referred The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to Reed’s statement.