Mayors of several so-called “sanctuary cities” are vowing to defy President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to deport illegal immigrant criminals, regardless of the consequences.
“We are standing with cities like Los Angeles and New York City who have made it clear that we will to sacrifice a single resident and we will continue to protect our communities,” Providence, Rhode Island Mayor Jorge Elorza told hundreds who gathered at Hope High School on Saturday to protest Trump’s proposed policies. “It’s important that every resident can live their lives without fear of being persecuted.”
“I’ve been in touch with both mayors (from those cities) and I’ve told them that we’re going to stand together on this,” he The Providence Journal on Sunday. “We’re not going to sacrifice any of our people and we’re going to continue with the policy we’ve always had.”
Providence’s current policy requires police to run fingerprints of criminals arrested in the city through the federal U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement database, but local officials refuse to hold undocumented criminals for possible deportation and instead requires ICE agents to attend a suspect’s arraignment to request custody for an immigration violation. Providence police also do not inquire about immigration status or report undocumented immigrants accused of civil infractions, WPRI reports.
In Trump’s “Contract with the American voter,” he’s vowed to take several actions on his first day in office, including the process to start “removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back.
He also promised to “cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities,” though the exact definition of a sanctuary city is unclear.
Regardless, Elorza is only the latest mayor to self-identify their city and vow to protect all illegal immigrants, regardless of the consequences – which could mean millions in lost funding for schools, roads, and services immigrants and their families rely on.
In New Haven, Connecticut, Mayor Toni Harp has already directed city attorneys to start formulating a legal appeal in anticipation of stronger federal immigration enforcement from a Trump administration, the New Haven Independent reports.
“We’re going to fight,” she said. “And we’re going to challenge it” it court if necessary.
In the meantime, New Haven will continue with its general order for police officers not to inquire about residents’ immigration status, and the state’s refusal to detain wanted illegal immigrants, she said.
The city’s Republican Town Chair, Jonathan Wharton, said his committee “would stand behind the federal government as we have already.
“It’s just going to be one of those areas where there’s a possibility of lawsuits,” he said. “Immigration is federal government responsibility.”
In Chicago, mayor Rahm Emanuel also re-affirmed the city’s status as a “sanctuary city” on Monday, CBS Chicago reports.
“To be clear about what Chicago is, it always will be a sanctuary city,” he said.
Trump clarified parts of his immigration plan during an interview with 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl that aired Sunday.
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” Trump said.
“But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally.”