Democratic mayors of some of America’s largest cities are vowing to fight for sanctuary city policies and promising they will not cooperate with federal immigration agents under incoming President Trump. From the Associated Press:
New York’s Bill de Blasio, Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel and Seattle’s Ed Murray are among those in “sanctuary cities” who have tried to soothe immigrant populations worried about Trump’s agenda.
“Seattle has always been a welcoming city,” Murray said Monday. “The last thing I want is for us to start turning on our neighbors.”
In Providence, Rhode Island, Mayor Jorge Elorza, the son of Guatemalan immigrants, said he’d continue a longstanding city policy of refusing to hold people charged with civil infractions for federal immigration officials, and Newark’s Ras Baraka echoed that, calling Trump’s rhetoric on immigration “scary.”
During the campaign Trump repeatedly referred to the death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco as emblematic of a problem with sanctuary cities. Steinle was shot and killed by Francisco Sanchez, a homeless illegal immigrant who had been previously deported five times. Sanchez, who has 7 felony convictions, was released from prison in March 2015. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requested that Sanchez be held until they could arrange to pick him up. However, San Francisco is a sanctuary city which offers only limited cooperation with ICE so Sanchez was released. Less than four months later, Sanchez shot Steinle in the back.
The AP story points out that Trump could may DOJ grant money conditional on increased cooperation with ICE:
The U.S. Justice Department’s inspector general looked at some jurisdictions with sanctuary policies earlier this year and concluded some appear to violate a federal law that says state and local governments may not prohibit or restrict officials from sharing information about a person’s immigration status with federal immigration officials. Having such policies could jeopardize millions of dollars in DOJ grant money the jurisdictions receive, the IG memo said.
This seems like one of those issues where Democrats are going to be willing to pay any price to declare victory so it’s not clear that withholding federal funds is going to create a change anytime soon. In this clip from Fox News you can see Rahm Emanuel vowing that Chicago will always remain a sanctuary city: