Dozens pack Clarkston City Hall voicing concerns about immigration executive order

- About 100 Clarkston residents packed city hall Tuesday evening to ask questions and voice their concerns about President Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry said Clarkston is like the Ellis Island of the south and while he respects the president’s decision, he wants people to know Clarkston is still a welcoming city.

“The executive order came out on Friday, so we have not had too much time for members of the public to react and we wanted just to make sure while folks were concerned about it, who had questions, a lot of alternative facts out there that we needed sort of cleared up,” said Mayor Ted Terry.

The meeting was not about bashing President Trump, but refugees telling their stories and learning what the executive order means for them, their families and the city.

“There are some people who are not in this room this evening because they are afraid to come here and the numbers of those who are afraid to come to this meeting outnumber those of us in this room,” said Clarkston resident and director of Women Watch Afrika, Glory Kilanko.

Mayor Terry said the executive order would have a tremendous impact, not only on families, but economically.  Mayor Terry said the city does not have any big retailers, but instead ethnic grocery stores and businesses run by locals that require doing business internationally.

“Longer term, cutting the refugee number in half is going to have a tremendous impact on the local impact in terms of buying groceries, renting vacant apartment complexes,” said Mayor Terry, adding that there is a lot of stimulus that happens in the community.

Residents and city officials are calling on the Trump administration and their senators to visit their diverse city and see the positive impact refugees have on the community.

“We would like for them to come here and talk like this, listen to us and take our message to the president and show them that refugees are not only bad, they’re also good people,” said one Clarkston resident.

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