With two pen strokes, and just days into his administration, President
Donald Trump has already signed two executive orders signaling his intent
to be the most immigrant-hostile president in more than a generation.

Now, some may think the true impact of Trump's policies will be felt in
far-off lands. And it's true: The lives of many who dreamed of coming to
this country have been deeply disrupted.

But if you are a mayor like me, you know that many of the hardest hit
communities will be in cities and towns all over this country. Places like
Santa Fe, with the highest proportion of new immigrants in its region and
a vibrant culture and thriving economy, are a living testament to the
rewards a community can reap if it opens its doors.

For 400 years, Santa Fe has seen the benefit of being a welcoming
community. Immigrants in our city are business owners, children attending
our schools, artists contributing to our culture and economy, veterans who
served our country in uniform, and hard-working people on whom local
businesses rely.

Like other cities, we've built the dream of our community as much on the
contributions of immigrants as those of the natural-born citizens with
whom they work, hand in hand. So when the president attacks them, he is
attacking all of us.

We've heard all the arguments, but here are the facts. Immigrants aren't
criminals, and refugees aren't terrorists. As immigration rose for nearly
25 years after 1990, violent crime dropped almost 50%, and there is no
evidence that sanctuary cities have higher crime rates. And not one of the
terrorist attacks on this country since 9/11 has been carried out by a
Immigrants and refugees alike put it all on the line to live the American
dream. Santa Fe has seen generation after generation grab hold of the
opportunity to do better by their children, exemplifying hard work,
fairness, love for equality, and belief in diversity as a strength. These
are the last people we should be turning away.

And while the definition of a sanctuary city is an unsettled debate
nationwide, in Santa Fe it's simple and principled: We don't discriminate
against people based on immigration status, and we don't use scarce local
police resources to do federal immigration authorities' jobs.

That doesn't mean we're a safe haven for violent criminals. Communities
are safer when they focus police department time on preventing crime and
catching those who break the law. When a federal court issues a criminal
judicial warrant, we regularly work with federal officials to enforce it,
regardless of the individual's immigration status.

What we don't do is enforce what are known as Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) administrative warrants. This constitutionally
questionable practice is essentially an informal request from ICE, asking
local police to step in when there's someone they'd like to pick up but
would rather not use their own resources to do so.

Even if the orders are legal, our policies don't violate any of the
federal laws cited in Trump's executive order threatening sanctuary
cities. But then again, legality isn't really the point.

President Trump, the classic schoolyard bully, wants to force us to make a
choice: Stand up for who we are and what we believe in, or give in, out of
fear of lost revenue in one case, or terrorism in the other. Well, that's
an easy one for Santa Fe. We won't turn against one another. We won't
forget or abandon the values and ideals that we believe in. We won't shut
out whole groups of people just because someone tells us we should be

As one of our country's first openly gay Hispanic mayors, I know how it
feels to be shut out because of who you are. But I also know that America
is at its strongest when we welcome the world, when we celebrate its
diversity, and when we choose hope over fear.

No executive order can force a community to change its values. Now, when
we face the hardest test, is the time to stand up for our fundamental
beliefs, not depart from them.

So, let me take this opportunity to tell the world:

On behalf of my city and, I suspect, a lot of other cities in America: It
doesn't matter if you are a Muslim, Christian, or Jew, have lived here for
five generations or are undocumented, are gay or straight, white, black,
or brown. If you love peace and dream of a better life, you are welcome in
Santa Fe, no matter what this president may say.