Trump’s election has spurred mayors and police chiefs in nearly a dozen major cities to re-affirm their “sanctuary” status, putting them in direct conflict with Trump’s immigration enforcement push — and effectively daring him to slash sanctuary-city funding as he promised during the campaign.
“To all those who are, after Tuesday’s election, very nervous and filled with anxiety as we’ve spoken to, you are safe in Chicago, you are secure in Chicago and you are supported in Chicago,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said during a press conference. “Chicago will always be a sanctuary city.”
Emanuel joined officials in New York; Seattle; Boston; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Oakland, Calif.; Providence, R.I.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Denver; and Washington, D.C., in saying they will maintain their sanctuary status.
Emanuel also shrugged off Trump’s call to cut funding.
“I would say to the president-elect, that the idea that you’re going to penalize Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia — these are the economic, cultural and intellectual energy of this country,” Emanuel said in a radio interview.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week he would go so far as to destroy a database of undocumented immigrants with city identification cards before handing it over to the Trump administration.
“We are not going to sacrifice a half-million people who live amongst us,” de Blasio said. “We will do everything we know how to do to resist that.”
In sanctuary cities, local law enforcement officials aren’t required to contact U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about the immigration status of people they come in contact with. That can mean, for example, that they don’t notify the feds when an undocumented immigrant is about to be released from custody.
Sanctuary cities can also bar their employees, including police, from asking about a person’s immigration status because crime victims and witnesses might be less likely to talk to investigators if they are worried about being deported.
Trump said in a recent “60 Minutes” interview that he plans to deport 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants who have a criminal history. He’s also said he could create a special deportation task force within ICE, though sanctuary city resistance could complicate their efforts.