Toronto for all - my statement on Toronto as a welcoming and sanctuary city

Over the past week, we have watched as the United States government has moved forward with destructive executive orders on immigration targeting people from Muslim-majority countries. These powerful forces seek to use borders and walls to divide us. This is a moment when we are called upon to stand up for justice and reach out to those targeted by hateful policies. In the face of this, we must stand united with love and openness in our hearts.

Declaring millions of people unwelcome based on their religion and place of origin is wrong. What the Trump administration has done cannot go unchallenged. 

No one should be made to feel afraid because of who they are, where they come from, and what they believe. People should never be persecuted. Islamophobia, xenophobia, and racism are unacceptable. A person's worth should never be determined by their race, religion, ethnicity, origin or citizenship status. 

In Toronto we understand that diversity makes us stronger. We are a vibrant city where nearly half the population was born elsewhere, and where so many of us are immigrants to our city and nation. We have a moral obligation to speak up when a government declares refugees, visitors and even its own permanent residents inadmissible and unwelcome. 

Toronto has affirmed itself a sanctuary city, with a formal policy allowing migrants to access services regardless of immigration status. We have committed to ensuring all residents of Toronto can access services without fear.

Now is the moment for us to reaffirm that commitment and to work in solidarity with sanctuary cities in the United States who are standing up to these hateful policies.

Now is the time for Toronto to reach out to those impacted by these discriminatory policies and say "you are welcome here". Now is the time to commit to love in the face of hate, and hope in the face of fear. We stand together, united across our differences so that we remain strong and hold on to the fundamental rights and values that make our freedom possible.