In heavily Democratic Philadelphia, Democratic Mayor Jim Kenny has been an outspoken critic of Donald Trump since the presidential campaign and has contested many of his policies since his inaugural, but his latest attack on the president’s policies, his attitude and even how he was raised has moved their feud to a new level of animosity.
“There is no compassion whatsoever in the White House,” Kenny said earlier today, according to NBC 10 in Philadelphia. “I’m just beside myself with sadness because our president is a bully, our president is a punk, and he just doesn’t get it.”
Kenny, who has personally gone on the streets to protest Trump’s ban of immigrants from mostly Muslim countries, is upset by the actions to force nearly 60,000 Haitian refugees – many of whom have lived in the U.S. for over ten years – to get out by July 2019.
Speaking in the City of Brotherly Love before a group of activist and advocates for immigration and refugees, Kenny said it is not just Haitians who are being impacted by the Homeland Security decision to look at how each country is doing now and then decide who to send back. There are currently more than 430,000 TPS refugees in the U.S.
The program that allowed immigration from Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Sudan, Syria and elsewhere gives them Temporary Protected Status or TPS protection. Under Geoge W. Bush, Clinton and Obama, there was an attitude that it would be cruel to send them back.
Now Trump wants to do just that to the Haitians and some others.
Kenny called the Trump administration’s order “simply un-American.”
He said deporting these immigrants will hurt the local economy, and he questioned what will happen to the American-born children of these immigrants.
“This country used to be a county of compassion and empathy and it is now a country of anger and divisiveness and Donald Trump is the reason why we’ve gotten where we are.”
Kenny suggested maybe it is Trump who should “get out” of the U.S.
He questioned what kind of upbringing Trump had that he has so little compassion.
“I don’t know where he was raised,” said Kenny, “but his family didn’t do a good job raising that guy.”
Kenny comes from an Irish family that immigrated to America for a better life.
“It’s bad policy to take away these protections without any thought or plan in place for the U.S. born children who may now lose their Sudanese, Haitian or Nicaraguan parents and caregivers to deportation,” said Kenny.
Kenny put it in the perspective of his own family, and the fact America has a long history of welcoming immigrants who went on to help build the country and even make it great.
“Could you imagine if they ended TPS for the Irish when we came here in the 1840s?” said Kenny. “Sent us all back to starve in our home country.”
Kenny has also been outspoken about the “Dreamers” program which has allowed the nearly 700,000 children of undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. where they have lived most of their lives. Trump has moved to rescind the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood), which has now move to Congress where a legislative battle is underway.
The fight over the Dreamers is even expected to be an issue as the Republicans and Democrats work on a bill to keep the U.S. government operating after a December 8 deadline to provide new money to keep the country going.
Kenny spoke to the cruelty of sending these immigrants back to countries that are still dangerous and violent, as well as poor and under-developed. He argued some immigrants have been here so long – holding jobs, with good records as citizens – they should be allowed to stay.
— We R Watching you ???? (@Freedom_24_365) January 28, 2017
Ultimately, Kenny looked past Trump and shared a vision of America’s real values.
“Let’s stick together and help each other out regardless of what happens in Washington,” said Kenny, “so Happy Thanksgiving.”
Philadelphia under Kenny is already a sanctuary city, meaning they refuse to work with Homeland Security to find and deport anyone who is not documented or a citizen.
He represents a different time when Americans welcomed others to come and share in the bounty as long as they worked hard, were good neighbors, raised families and stayed out of trouble with the authorities.
Kenny is right that Trump has made America a harsher and place, and cruelty has replaced compassion in many cases.
We could use a little of that Brotherly Love spread across our country, but it isn’t going to happen as long as Trump and his minions are in charge.
Thank goodness there are still a few leaders around like Jim Kenny.