NASHVILLE, Tennessee–CitiGroup is spending $100,000 to be a “diamond sponsor” of the ninth annual National Immigrant Integration Conference, a gathering of refugee and immigrant advocacy organizations meeting in Nashville for three days that began on Sunday to plan opposition to President-elect Donald Trump’s refugee and immigration policies.
Eileen Auld, CitiGroup’s “community development director for the New York Tri State market,” is a featured speaker at the conference.
Auld “leads Citi’s commitment to achieve economic empowerment for underserved individuals, families and communities by expanding access to financial products and services, and building sustainable business solutions and innovative partnerships such as Cities for Citizenship,” according to the conference website.
Breitbart News asked CitiGroup to confirm its sponsorship of the conference, and also to explain why it was providing financial support to a conference that is vigorously opposing President-elect Trump’s refugee and immigration policies.
“We received your enquiry that came through our media hotline regarding the National Immigrant Integration Conference. We will decline to comment,” a spokesperson for CitiGroup told Breitbart News in an emailed statement on Monday.
Western Union, the financial services company that specializes in international money transfers, joins SEIU (the Service Employees International Union), the Four Freedoms Fund, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as the four “silver sponsors” of the conference, each of whom is contributing $25,000.
“On November 8th, the nation’s direction changed. Donald J. Trump was elected president, defeating Hillary Clinton with an unapologetically anti-immigrant and anti-refugee platform,” the event’s leading organizers from the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) and refugee advocacy groups from New York and Massachusetts state on the conference’s website:
We are heartbroken for our community, for undocumented, Mexican, Muslim, and refugee friends and members, who were the targets of so much hate. If President-elect Trump keeps his promises then 750,000 undocumented youth whose lives were changed by DACA will lose it; we will no longer resettle Muslim refugees fleeing horrendous violence; there will be a “deportation force” destroying millions of families; and we will build a wall along our border with Mexico.
At NPNA we believe America’s success is rooted in our ongoing commitment to welcoming and integrating newcomers into the fabric of our nation, and to upholding equality and opportunity as fundamental American values. New Americans are central to what has made this country great for generations.
We have gained so much strength and our groups contributed to a surge in naturalizations: nearly one million eligible immigrants applied to become citizens in the past year. As we chart our course forward with you, our partners and allies, we will work harder than ever to organize, defend, advocate for, express solidarity with, and love our communities. And to reach the tens of millions of our neighbors who want to work towards a more vibrant, just, and welcoming democracy for all.
Walmart, though not a sponsor of the conference itself, is a sponsor of a “concurrent event.”
“While Walmart is not a sponsor of the National Immigrant Integration Conference, our involvement is through the National Community Navigator Convening (NCNC),” a spokesperson for the company tells Breitbart News:
The NCNC is one of three separate but concurrent events taking place alongside the conference, where best practices will be shared on community building. We will be sharing efforts taking place in Northwest Arkansas to create a global community of engaged talent through our support of EngageNWA. EngageNWA is focused on creating a community that attracts the best talent in order to promote future economic development in the Northwest Arkansas region.
The George Soros-funded Open Society Foundations is also a sponsor of the NCNC.
Breitbart News contacted representatives from Bank of America, Discover Bank, and Western Union and asked why they are sponsoring the conference, but received no response.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry is one of the featured speakers at the National Immigrant Integration Conference.
Barry was elected mayor in 2015 and has aggressively promoted a pro-refugee, pro-immigrant agenda through the Mayor’s Office of New Americans, whose purpose is described on its website:
Within the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement, the Mayor’s Office of New Americans works to engage immigrants and empower them to participate in our government and our community.
The number of foreign-born residents in Nashville has more than doubled over the past decade. Nearly 12 percent of our population was born outside of the United States, and nearly half of those people are recent immigrants who entered the country since 2000. In fact, in 2012, Nashville had the fastest-growing immigrant population of any American city. Today, 30% of students enrolled in Metro Schools speak a language other than English at home.
Representatives of several other city governments are speaking at the event, including those from New York City, Atlanta; Anchorage, Alaska; and Oakland, California.
One representative from the state of Michigan will also be speaking, as will representatives from organizations that develop public-private partnerships based in Los Angeles, Seattle, Detroit, Louisville, and Des Moines.
The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce is also listed as a sponsor of the conference.