American city mayors from big cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, to smaller cities like New Haven, Syracuse and Austin, have a message for their new president and it’s one of defiance with regard to the his new immigration order. “We’re going to defend all of our people regardless of where they come from, regardless of their immigration status,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York.
Donald Trump issued an executive order indicating funding to municipalities that did not cooperate with federal immigration officials would be halted. However, so-called sanctuary city mayors were undaunted.
“I want to be clear: We’re going to stay a sanctuary city,”Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “There is no stranger among us. Whether you’re from Poland or Pakistan, whether you’re from Ireland or India or Israel and whether you’re from Mexico or Moldova, where my grandfather came from, you are welcome in Chicago as you pursue the American dream.”
Trump’s order targets cities that have historically been less than cooperative when giving up undocumented immigrants, who have been arrested on charges unrelated to their immigration status, to federal authorities for deportation. The oder states that these cities will “not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes.”
While this threat may seem serious, legal advisors indicate it has no real bite. “The rhetoric doesn’t match the legal authority. In fact, the president has very limited power to exercise any kind of significant defunding,” said director of the Immigration Justice Clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York Peter L. Markowitz.
California stands out as ready to fight for the long haul. They have called in Eric H. Holder Jr., former U.S. Attorney General, to advocate for their position. California officials contend that the order violates the 10th Amendment in that it forces local governments to enforce federal statutes, according to New York Times.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who prefers not to use the term “sanctuary city” said on matters of safety, “our police chief is the best person to decide how to use the scarce resources we have. It’s not simply an ideological decision.” He added, “Our Police Department, like most, doesn’t engage in federal tax laws, federal environmental laws or federal immigration laws.”
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