One of the hottest topics this past election cycle was illegal immigration and what we were going to do about it. Trump said build a wall and Hillary said let them stay. Both views have their pros and cons. But for the more than 11.1 million illegal immigrants living in the United States their fate is now in the hands of the Trump Administration, law enforcement and the states that they reside in.
Based on a new report released by the Pew Research Center, “most of the United States’ 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants live in just 20 major metropolitan areas,” and according to the research close to 6.8 million illegal immigrants, or 61% of the illegal immigrants live in those 20 areas.
A week into his presidency Trump signed an executive order called “ENHANCING PUBLIC SAFETY IN THE INTERIOR OF THE UNITED STATES” which orders the the execution of immigration laws in the United States especially in sanctuary cities.
Part of the executive order states that,
“Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States. These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.”
The executive order also threatens these jurisdictions with the loss of federal funds if they wish to not comply with the law.
NPR reported that,
Laurie Robinson, the former co-chair of President Obama’s police reform task force, says cutting federal grants for law enforcement would make no sense, especially for Trump.
“Donald Trump has been a strong supporter of the cop on the street. And those law enforcement officers need assistance from the federal government,” she says. “It seems ironic that he would be turning around and cutting off that help.”
As you could expect this executive order was not met with applause especially by cities that shelter illegal immigrants and by many Americans who have been protesting Trumps every move. USA Today reported that “several big city mayors vowed to defy” President Trumps executive order.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the executive order wont change the way they enforce the law although the NYPD can lose up to $156 million in federal funds if they don’t comply.
“Here in New York City and in cities across the nation, this executive order could in fact undermine public safety and make our neighborhoods less safe,” de Blasio said.
Fox News reported that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel “vowed to protect illegal immigrants, including ones suspected or convicted of crimes, from the feds.”
“I want to be clear: We’re going to stay a sanctuary city,” Emanuel said. “There is no stranger among us… you are welcome in Chicago as you pursue the American dream.”
Marty Walsh the Mayor of Boston was not too happy either stating that the executive order was an attack on “Boston’s people, Boston’s strength and Boston’s values.”
“If people want to live here, they’ll live here,” Walsh told reporters at a news conference. “They can use my office. They can use any office in this building.”
The Hill reported that,
“Amid protests over President Trump’s executive order aiming to block federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities, Republican legislators across the country are moving to deny their own funding to cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration authorities.”
The Texas state Senate on Wednesday passed a measure to block state funding to cities in which law enforcement officials disregard federal immigration laws.
Similar legislation has been introduced in Ohio, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Idaho and Pennsylvania.
“Many cities and some states and other municipalities have made the decision that they’re not going to use their jails, their police officers, their city resources to do immigration enforcement,” Omar Jadwat, a senior attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants Rights Project, told The Hill last year.
The Washington Post reported that San Francisco is the first city to sue President Trump over his directive to cut federal funds from sanctuary cities.
“The Executive Order is a severe invasion of San Francisco’s sovereignty,” the lawsuit says. “The Executive Branch may not commandeer state and local officials to enforce federal law.”
Unlike Boston, New York, San Francisco and the other cities that plan on defying the order Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez took a different route.
The Miami Herald reported that Gimenez “ordered county jails to comply with federal immigration detention requests — effectively gutting the county’s position as a “sanctuary” for immigrants in the country illegally.”
The Miami Herald also reported that,
Last year, the county declined to hold some 100 inmates wanted by the feds. Keeping them in local jails would have cost about $52,000 — a relative drop in the bucket for a county with a total annual budget of $7 billion.
In contrast, the county’s 2017 budget shows it’s counting on receiving some $355 million in federal funds — money that subsidizes elderly services, beds for the homeless, police officers and other government expenses. It’s unclear how much of that comes from the sort of grants Trump has threatened to deny sanctuary municipalities.
“I want to make sure we don’t put in jeopardy the millions of funds we get from the federal government for a $52,000 issue,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that we’re going to be arresting more people. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to be enforcing any immigration laws.”
Can we expect more defiance from sanctuary cities?
Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform doesn’t think so. Fox News reported that he predicts that “many more communities will be dropping or dramatically modifying their sanctuary stances.”
“We’re going to see more of this,” Mehlman told Fox News. “Faced with the possibility of losing federal dollars, they’ll choose to keep funding public services rather than protecting illegal aliens.”
Follow me on twitter at BYR_Miguel