[URBAN NOTE] “SF supports immigrants — just not into our neighborhoods”
The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Vincent Woo writes about how an ostensible openness of San Franciscans towards immigration is not matched by their lack of support for affordable housing for immigrants (and others).
San Francisco is one of the most progressive cities in the nation, especially when it comes to national immigration. We believe so much in the natural right of people to join us here in America that we fought to keep our status as sanctuary city even in the face of being federally defunded for it. We pride ourselves on our rejection of plans to tighten immigration controls and deport undocumented immigrants. Yet take that same conversation to the local level and all bets are off. City meetings have become heated, divisive and prone to rhetoric where we openly discuss exactly which kinds of people we want to keep out of our city.
This is an ethically incoherent position. If we in San Francisco so strongly believe that national immigration is a human right, then it seems strange to block migration into our own neighborhoods.
Consider the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ decision to challenge the environmental review of a proposed housing project at 1515 Van Ness Ave. Despite the project’s plan to rent 25 percent of its units at a below-market rate, many members of the neighborhood preservation group, Calle 24, expressed anger that the project might bring tech workers into the Latino Cultural District.
Or that members of the Forest Hill homeowners association opposed a project that would build affordable housing for seniors and the formerly homeless on a site now occupied by a church. One of the grievances aired was that it might bring mentally unstable or drug-addicted people into the neighborhood.