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AL DÍA invites Jim Kenney to address the Latino voter directly

As mayor, I will make additional government resources available in more languages so non-native English speakers can get the services they need. My…

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Just a little over a decade ago, our city’s population was shrinking and jobs were leaving, decimating many of our oldest neighborhoods. Had it not been for the growing Latino population and influx of immigrants in recent years, many of those communities would have been lost to crime and poverty. 

For the last fifteen years, eighteen percent of small business growth, and ninety-six percent of main street, or commercial corridor business growth has been from immigrant entrepreneurs. Immigrants make up ten percent of Philadelphia’s population, but fourteen percent of all business owners, and twenty-eight percent of main street business owners.

As a City Councilman, I recognized the importance of our city’s Latino community and worked hard to make Philadelphia a welcoming city for this new population. I advocated for a marketing campaign and city-wide initiative to attract immigrants to Philadelphia and make the city more immigrant friendly. I proposed creating an Office of New Philadelphians, which would encourage new immigrants to move to Philadelphia and then provide assistance including English-language lessons, translation of city reports, and referrals.

In 2013, I launched a statewide campaign to lobby against tighter border restrictions and create a path to citizenship for the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants. I also sponsored a municipal I.D. bill, and was part of City Council when we held hearings that led to the end of cooperation with federal immigration officials on undocumented immigrant detainment.

As mayor, I will make additional government resources available in more languages so non-native English speakers can get the services they need. My administration’s Commerce Department will have dedicated multilingual staff that will provide a high level of service to these business owners. I will also continue to fight for a municipal I.D. program, which will help protect undocumented immigrants from predatory schemes and help them access essential government services.

I will continue to fight against ICE detainments, and ensure the Philadelphia Police Department does not ask anyone about their immigration status. I believe we can also make the police department friendlier to non-native English speakers, and will work to add employees to the department that speak Spanish and other languages.

We must continue to make Philadelphia a safe and comfortable place for all communities to work, live, and raise a family. I will invest in early-childhood learning, increase resources and support to help students and teachers succeed, and develop comprehensive community schools. My economic plan will protect workers and increase wages, while growing our local economy and making it more diverse and inclusive. And I will end our city’s “stop-and-frisk” policy, leading to greater trust and cooperation between our neighborhoods and the police.

It’s been an honor to support all of Philadelphia’s diverse neighborhoods as a City-Councilman-at-Large. As mayor, I will continue to make the hard choices that move all Philadelphians forward, not just the privileged few. 

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