Phelim Mac Cafferty: We are a city of sanctuary - we welcome immigrants

Cllr Phelim MacCafferty
Cllr Phelim MacCafferty

I was among many who felt repulsed when our Prime Minister took Mr Trump’s hand on the same day he signed an executive order placing an immediate ban on immigrants from seven Muslim majority countries.

There will be people in Brighton and Hove whose family and friends are affected by this decision.

My first job as an elected representative is to make the lives of all of our citizens safer and we should be clear that an injury to any one of our city’s diverse communities is an injury to each and every one of us.

It is shameful that in the post-Brexit rush to assure American markets, Ms May failed to stand up to Trump’s bullying.

However we must be mindful that Ms May is also committed to building walls in Calais, and that in her time as Home Secretary, vans circled the streets emblazoned with the slogan: “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest.”

Yet standing together with the thousands who rallied against Trump’s prejudices at Brighton

Town Hall this week, the City continues to reject divisive politics on both sides of the Atlantic.

Seven point five per cent of Brighton and Hove’s population have signed a petition calling for a ban on the state visit for President Trump.

As a councillor, I regularly witness the amazing energy and community of our city, and this week it is in full effect.

Greens will be working with other political parties to ensure our city continues to be a place where all feel safe and all are treated fairly.

As a city of sanctuary, we must continue to support and welcome refugees.

On 20th Feb, UN Social Justice Day, we are calling for a council-wide migrants rights campaign.

We will not stand by while migrants are used by the most powerful as a convenient scapegoat for public sector cuts on both sides of the pond. In local Government, we must be champions of compassion and concern.

We must combat Islamophobia and racism and say loudly and clearly: No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.

Phelim Mac Cafferty is the convener of the Brighton and Hove Green Group.