The mayor of the metro Atlanta city known as the “Ellis Island of the South” has launched a petition urging President Trump to end the record-long federal government shutdown over the border wall, decrying what he called the politics of fear and racism.
Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry, a Democrat who took office in 2014 and was re-elected in 2017, said welcoming 40,000 refugees over time has reshaped his town of about 13,000 into a laboratory for ethnic diversity and grassroots dynamism. Former refugees have been elected to the city council in recent years.
“We all know that Trump’s war on immigrants is nothing new. His travel ban, racist rhetoric, and family separation policy were all designed to sow fear in immigrant communities and frighten refugees seeking asylum,” Mr. Terry wrote in the petition letter. “And now, his border wall will do that and more — and will cost billions. This wall does not represent who we are in Clarkston, in Georgia, or in America. Full stop.”
Because of its influx of refugees and the profusion of humanitarian groups helping resettle them, Clarkston has had an outsize voice in immigration debates, with book and major news outlets picking up on the city’s unique role.
Mr. Terry has spoken at mayoral conferences with representatives of much larger and more prominent cities from Sao Paulo to New York. He believes Clarkston gives a preview of a pluralistic world to come.
“In Clarkston, we are providing sort of a microcosm of what the world may very well look like in the future,” Mr. Terry said at during a 2016 event on the legal ramifications of the retreat of globalism.
Read the full letter and sign the petition here.
Learn more in this profile of Mr. Terry and Clarkston: