A “record number” of Central African migrants have reportedly been surging at the Mexican border, first stopping in Texas before continuing on to New England. But two so-called sanctuary cities in America that have previously gone out of their way to welcome all refugees were now not so eager at the prospects of having a growing number of African migrants arrive.
Hundreds of migrants from the Congo and Angola have recently been arriving in San Antonio, Texas. And while officials there have been accommodating, they have also expressed dismay.
“We didn’t get a heads up,” Dr. Colleen Bridger, San Antonio’s interim assistant city manager said last week. She said the migrants began arriving last Tuesday and traveled through Ecuador to the southern border. She said she called Border Patrol to see what was happening, and they told her the city should expect hundreds of additional migrants to arrive the next day.
The migrants have been traveling from San Antonio to Portland, Maine, where “[w]ord has spread among migrants that the city of 67,000 is a welcoming place,” according to the Associated Press.
When Bridger reached out to Portland, where other African migrants have been settling, she said officials in the northwest city responded in part by saying, “Please don’t send us any more.”
There is good reason for the Congolese and Angolan citizens to flee their countries.
There is a brand new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, not to mention an ongoing bloody civil war that has killed millions of people in the impoverished nation where “[a]t least 161 people have been killed in a northeastern province” over the past week “in an apparent resurgence of ethnic clashes between farming and herding communities,” Reuters reported Monday.
In Angola, there is a massive drought that the United Nations has called its worst in decades, resulting in what the Voice of America last month called “a food security crisis and malnutrition.”
Those are as valid as reasons can get for people seeking asylum in the U.S.
However, the responses from San Antonio and Portland stood in stark contrast to previous ones from the cities that have become immigration battlegrounds for White House-supported policies. San Antonio has welcomed a lawsuit from the Trump administration scrutinizing the city’s sanctuary laws for immigrants. And it was just in May when Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling told Trump to “bring them on” when the president threatened to send immigrants there as some kind of punishment for being accepting of foreign nationals fleeing danger in their homelands.
But now it appeared that each city was not as eager to welcome immigrants.
That move, according to statistics, probably wouldn’t be wise. The positive change that African migrants bring to American communities they settle in has long been documented and confirmed. According to Pew, “black immigrants from Africa are more likely than Americans overall to have a college degree or higher,” which in theory places them on a quicker road to success and being an upstanding member of society than their American counterparts.
The news followed what appeared to be apathy toward the current crisis in Sudan, showing that, as David Dennis astutely wrote for NewsOne that he had “yet to find a floor to how little Black life is valued in this world.”