San Diego Unveils New Plan to Welcome Immigrants

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the creation of a new Immigrant Affairs Manager position Monday as part of a five-year plan to make the city a more welcoming place for immigrants.

“Immigrants from around the globe help define our city. San Diego has long been a destination for people in search of opportunity, refugees looking to rebuild their lives, and new citizens who are proud to call America home,” Faulconer said. “San Diego’s economy, workforce and future growth are connected to our ability to welcome new Americans into our community.”

The immigrant czar will help develop and implement programs and policies to serve the growing number of migrants in San Diego. Mayor Faulconer allotted $70,000 in his midyear budget proposal for the new position.

Faulconer is heeding recommendations laid out by a working group that convened last year when the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and several nonprofits received a grant to study options for better immigrant integration. The recommendations were handed down by a committee consisting of 19 local leaders. They also include options for more educational opportunities, immigrant entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and ideas to improve relations between law enforcement and the immigrant community.

Faulconer is a rare breed: a Republican Mayor still standing in one California’s largest cities. But his rhetoric and policies toward immigrants have been markedly different from President Donald Trump’s and much of the Republican party, focusing instead on unity and acceptance.

Cities such as Atlanta and Seattle already have immigrant affairs managers on the payroll. San Diego consulted with them before moving forward with the plan.