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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.
The current approach of attempting to just halt construction hasn’t proven effective at preserving neighborhood aesthetics. To truly control who lived in a neighborhood, you’d have to create some official tribunal that would essentially have the ability to vet applicants by their demographics. This is would be very dangerous and likely illegal. It’s hardly a progressive idea to deliberately institutionalize exclusionary policy.