Sanctuary Cities Steadfast Despite Trump Threats

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Sanctuary Cities Steadfast Despite Trump Threats
By: teleSUR
11 November 2016
 

“We have to see what happens, but we’re not going to change our DNA because of politics,”

—San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

“Undocumented and unafraid!”

These were the defiant chants of protesters outside of San Francisco`s Department of Homeland Security – Immigration and Customs Enforcement (DHS-ICE) office.

“(But) there is fear. Tremendous fear in the community, said immigration attorney Luis Angel Reyes Savalza.

That’s because among the multifarious pledges U.S. president-elect Donald Trump has made that will adversely affect the most marginalized communities, the threat of slashed funding to sanctuary cities looms in particular.

That’s severed funding to nearly 300 cities and counties around the nation that block local law enforcement from targeting undocumented immigrants. The policies range from prohibiting asking questions about legal status, to disregarding DHS-ICE requests to keep immigrants in jail until they’re taken into federal custody.

While Republicans have long vouched to cut this stream of federal funding, they have failed to do so in Congress. But under the looming specter of a Trump presidency, that funding remains directly threatened, with the incoming GOP leader announcing last month he would cut it in his first 100 days in office.

But that’s not going to stop the sanctuary city movement and the municipal officials that back their cause.

The two largest cities in the nation, Los Angeles and New York, vocalized their commitment to keeping their cities sanctuary cities.

“We are not going to sacrifice a half million people who live among us, who are part of our community,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference on Thursday. “We are not going to tear families apart.”

De Blasio said Trump’s threat to withhold funds from sanctuary cities was “dangerous.” Across the country, Los Angeles officials echoed similar sentiments.

“We comply with federal immigration agencies, but insist that detainer requests be handled constitutionally,” said spokeswoman Connie Llanos. “It is Mayor Garcetti’s sincere hope that no president would violate those principles, the very foundation of our nation, by taking punitive action on cities that are simply protecting the wellbeing of residents.”

Both cities are one of the few that do not hold undocumented inmates in jail at the request of ICE, a practice that emerged during the Obama administration, where so-called detainer requests have been used to target undocumented immigrants convicted of criminal acts, especially violent ones. The Obama era still stands as one that has deported the most people ever from the United States.

The city of Philadelphia has also vowed to protect undocumented people. Led by the city’s New Sanctuary Movement (NSM), the group released a statement in response to Trump’s victory, announcing invigorated efforts to combat Trump’s impending policing and criminalization of immigration communities.

“This is terrifying. Trump’s campaign of hate, racism and exclusion took the White House. The backlash of white voters was harsh and strong, and Trump’s rhetoric now has the power of the White House behind it,” they write on their website. “Let us ground ourselves deeply in our traditions and get organized for the struggle ahead.”

Among a number of actions, one will include recruiting 1,000 people to disrupt immigration raids in the next two months.

Mayor Kenney affirmed the movement’s call.

Philadelphia will remain a sanctuary city despite a threat to its future status from Trump, he said Thursday.

First of all, we`ve changed the name from `sanctuary city` to `the Fourth Amendment city,` Kenney said. We respect and live up to the Fourth Amendment, which means you can`t be held against your will without a warrant from the court signed by a judge. So, yeah, we will continue to be a Fourth Amendment city abiding by the Constitution.

And still, across the nation, Seattle’s mayor has spoken out to reserve the city’s status – even of they lose federal funding.

“These are our neighbors, and we will continue to support our neighbors,” Mayor Murray said. “We can’t allow ourselves to be divided and sorted out. That’s not America.”

The mayor said Trump has “demonstrated outright misogyny, demonstrated xenophobia and homophobia, nationalism, racism and authoritarian tendencies.”

In addressing the crowd gathered inside City Hall on Wednesday, Murray recalled his own arduous struggle as a state lawmaker working to legalize gay marriage in Washington.

Original article with video

Photo: A Rally in support of sanctuary cities in Philadelphia. Source: Twitter /@tbolmedo.

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