US sanctuary cities

ON THIS PAGE: Sanctuary cities confront Trump ||| Mayors of largest US cities stand by immigrants |||


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Sanctuary cities pledge to continue
to protect undocumented immigrants

24 April 2017: The US Justice Department recently sent our letters to nine so-called Sanctuary Cities, including New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Philadelphia, warning them of the withdrawal of federal funding unless they publically participated in finding and deporting undocumented immigrants. Sanctuary cities in the US offer a degree of safety to immigrants without work or residency permits. Leaders of sanctuary cities want to reduce the fear of deportation and possible family break-up, so that such residents will be more willing to report crimes, use health and social services, and enrol their children in school.

Municipal policies include prohibiting police or city employees from questioning people about their immigration status and refusing requests by federal immigration authorities to detain people beyond their release date, if they were jailed for breaking local law. There are more than 140 sanctuary cities or counties in the US, including large cities such as San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles.

However, the Donald Trump administration argues that sanctuary cities hide and protect immigrants with criminal records. US Attorney General Jess Sessions said when cities and states refused to enforce immigrations laws, America was less safe. “Failure to deport aliens who are convicted of criminal offences puts whole communities at risk, especially immigrant communities in the very sanctuary jurisdictions that seek to protect the perpetrators.”

With the exception of a few smaller sanctuary communities, US cities have so far rejected the Trump government’s ‘threat’. Milwaukee County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic said they would not give in to these threats and promised to go to court if any funding was withdrawn, while mayors of some of the USA’s largest cities have publically stated that they would not be bullied by the federal government.

New York City
Mayor Bill de Blasio: “We’re going to defend all of our people regardless of where they come from, regardless of their immigration status.”

Chicago
Mayor Rahm Emanuel: “I want to be clear: We’re going to stay a sanctuary city. 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.”

Los Angeles
Mayor Eric Garcetti: “What we don’t do is ask local police officers to enforce federal immigration laws - and that’s an official Los Angeles Police Department policy that has been enforced for nearly 40 years. That is for everyone’s good, because trust between police and the people they serve is absolutely essential to effective law enforcement.”

Washington DC
Mayor Muriel Bowser: “Our city and our values did not change on Election Day in November 2016. Being a sanctuary city means we are not an agent of the federal government. It means that our police can focus on serving D.C. residents - protecting and serving them - no matter their immigration status.”

Boston
Mayor Martin Walsh: “To anyone who feels threatened today, or vulnerable, you are safe in Boston. We will do everything lawful in our power to protect you. If necessary, we will use City Hall itself to shelter and protect anyone who’s targeted unjustly.”

Seattle
Mayor Ed Murray: “This city will not be bullied by this administration. We believe we have the rule of law and the courts on our side.”

Baltimore
Mayor Catherine Pugh: “We don’t walk around asking people where they’re from. That’s just not our policy. We don’t do that. What we want is to help people become productive members of our community. We’re a welcoming city. We want everybody here. We want to provide opportunities and jobs and careers for folks.”

Denver
Mayor Michael Hancock: “We will value residents in this city. We won’t take any unlawful or unconstitutional acts against residents of the city of Denver. It is our goal to make sure people in the city feel safe and know that this is a city that’s open, welcoming and inclusive.”

Boulder
Mayor Suzanne Jones: “We are not going to violate immigrants’ constitutional rights just because the new president wants us to. And we stand behind our ordinance.”

San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose
Mayors Ed Lee, Libby Schaaf and Sam Liccardo: “We will not give in to threats, or political grandstanding. Together, the Bay Area will stay true to our values of inclusiveness, compassion and equality, and united against any and all efforts to divide our residents, our cities, and our country.”