During a time of uncertainty throughout the nation regarding immigration, Ricarte knows that he has his work cut out for him — but says he is ready to take on the challenge.
“I’m honored that I was appointed by the mayor to serve in this commission,” Ricarte said.” And my experiences as a Filipino-American and as an immigrant…will inform the kinds of things we need to discuss and work on in the commission.”
Ricarte says he will defend San Francisco’s stance to remain a sanctuary city, despite the threat of cutting federal funding under a Trump presidency.
“Sanctuary cities are important, and it’s not what people think it is. It’s not that we harbor criminals. It’s just that we want to make sure that people who come here are protected by the city,” he said.
Ricarte also acknowledges that many young kababayans are protected under President Obama’s executive order — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — and he says that their trust in the system will not work against them, amidst the change of administrations.
“We’re all behind them, and everybody understands the experiences they had to go through, and there is no reason to be attacked by what the current political climate is,” he said. “So I want to tell them don’t lose hope.”
The Immigrants Rights Commission, or IRC, provides advice and makes recommendations to the city mayor and the Board of Supervisors on issues affecting San Francisco’s vast immigrant population.
The IRC also prepares and submits an annual report that evaluates the services and programs in place for immigrants in the city.
Ricarte will attend his first monthly meeting with the commission in a few weeks.