Democratic state and local leaders have responded with defiance to President Donald Trump’s executive orders Wednesday calling for the federal government to stop giving grants to jurisdictions which protect illegal immigrants and allow for local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat, denied in a statement that Los Angeles is a sanctuary city, despite the Center for Immigration Studies saying otherwise, and said that police enforcing immigration law would hurt community trust.
This line of defense is one many mayors took, denying they are a sanctuary city and instead focusing on President Trump’s order to allow local police to enforce immigration law.
Denver, which has in the past not complied with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers, said they are not a sanctuary city and would comply with ICE if the agency had a warrant.
The Democratic mayor of Providence, R.I., Jorge Elorza, said in response to Trump’s plans Wednesday: “The idea of local control is deeply embedded in American history, and what we have now is a very aggressive attempt by the federal government to commandeer our local police departments to become immigration agents.”
Other leaders more clearly spelled out that they support protecting illegal immigrants from federal law enforcement. New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement, “Local governments seeking to protect their immigrant communities from federal overreach have every right to do so.”
Boston’s Democratic mayor Marty Walsh said that “if necessary, we will use City Hall itself to protect anyone who is targeted unjustly.” Newark’s Democratic mayor Ras Baraka said, “Newark has a policy of protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation by U.S. immigration authorities. We see no reason to change that policy.”
New York City’s comptroller recently announced the city could lose under $7 billion annually due to its sanctuary status, but New York mayor Bill de Blasio does not appear to be afraid. He tweeted, “we are not going to deport law-abiding New Yorkers,” and added that the city has “solid ground for a legal challenge to the executive order should the occasion arise.”