Officials discuss efforts to welcome immigrants, refugees to Houston

HOUSTON – Houston is known as the nation’s most diverse city, and leaders want to make sure people from all backgrounds who decide to call it home feel welcome.

"On any given day, you can literally travel the globe right here in the city of Houston," said Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Turner said he created the Office of New Americans to serve as a resource for immigrants and refugees and help them feel more comfortable when they relocate to Houston.

Turner said the contentious 2016 election did not change Houston’s hospitality.

“The city that existed prior to the election is the same city that exists today,” Turner said. “I, along with mayors from other major U.S. cities, sent a letter to President-elect (Donald) Trump, asking the incoming administration to support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.”

Houston Independent School District Superintendent Richard Carranza said everyone should feel secure while attending the city’s schools.

“Our schools are safe, and they will not be places where immigration raids will take place,” Carranza said. “Your students are safe.”

Houston’s new police chief, Art Acevedo, said that no matter their immigration status, people should also feel free to report crimes.

“Immigrants who are victims of a crime or who have information regarding criminal activity should not feel afraid to contact the Houston Police Department,” Acevedo said.

Turner also encouraged immigrants and refugees to report hate crimes.