As 2016 comes to a close and we surround ourselves with friends and family, I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone in Mountain View a happy holiday season. Serving as your mayor this past year has been one of the greatest honors of my life -- and I'm especially proud that the City Council voted to become a "Human Rights City." I hope this will help reduce fears that have arisen since the election about how immigrants will be treated locally.
No matter what your religious views, this is the season of peace on Earth and good will towards others, which is a message of particular relevance this year. Many Mountain View residents have expressed concern over the divisiveness in this past election cycle. I know I certainly am concerned. Our city has always been a welcoming haven for its diverse population, and if you are a recent immigrant, you may be worried about the months to come. So, let me explain some of Mountain View's longstanding policies about immigration to ease some of those fears.
First, at City Hall we are committed to serving each of our residents with high-quality government services. That means police, fire, public works, community services, library and all other departments treat each person equally, ethically and with respect. We understand that English may not be everyone's first language, so we publish materials in the four most common languages spoken in our city and provide translation services as needed. As a municipal government, we do not have an interest in anyone's immigration status unless they are involved in a crime that threatens the safety of others. Remember, all of our families were immigrants to America at one time. Right now, approximately 61 percent of our city's population was born outside of the U.S.
Second, our police have a standing policy to not participate directly in any U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement activity. For more than 20 years, our police department has not participated in federal government immigration "sweeps." This policy has stood the test of time, and is essential to our safety because it allows everyone to feel comfortable reporting crimes and cooperating with police in their investigations. Most of the Mountain View police involvement with federal agencies relates to combating organized crime, such as the illegal distribution of drugs and human trafficking.
Finally, on Dec. 13, your City Council followed the recommendation of the Human Relations Commission to approve a resolution adopting the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights that was passed 65 years ago. This resolution is an important symbol of how seriously our community values human rights. By adopting this resolution, we commit that the principles set forth in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights should guide the spirit of Mountain View's policies and practices. In the next few months, we will be considering exactly how to implement this resolution. As always, input from interested residents will be welcome.
Again, I want to thank you all so much for letting me represent our amazing city this past year, and I am looking forward to what being a Human Rights City will mean for all of us going forward. Happy holidays!
Pat Showalter was elected to the City Council in 2014, and served as the city's mayor this year.