Local politicians attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting in Washington, DC, canceled a meeting with President Trump yesterday over a recent Department of Justice action against sanctuary cities, according to The Independent.
The DOJ had asked 23 cities, counties and states, some of which are members of the organization of civic leaders, to demonstrate whether their local law enforcement agencies were sharing information with federal immigration authorities.
A letter was sent from the DOJ yesterday asking about compliance with 8 USC 1373, a federal statute that prohibits local governments and agencies from keeping certain information from federal immigration officials, and demanded to see all instructions local law enforcement agencies had given their officers regarding communication with those officials. The DOJ threatened to subpoena records for those who didn’t comply, as well as cut certain grant funding for criminal justice programs, which totaled $39 million in 2016.
Denver doesn’t violate federal law, and we won’t be intimidated. And on the same day he has the audacity to invite mayors to the WH to discuss infrastructure. No, won’t be going to the WH today, better things to do than be part of a photo op for 45 as he threatens cities again.— Michael B. Hancock (@MayorHancock) January 24, 2018
“Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s decision to threaten mayors and demonize immigrants yet again—and use cities as political props in the process—has made this meeting untenable,” conference President Mitch Landrieu said in a statement released yesterday afternoon. “The U.S. Conference of Mayors is proud to be a bipartisan organization. But an attack on mayors who lead welcoming cities is an attack on everyone in our conference.”
The latest salvo in the ongoing disagreement over sanctuary cities—localities that don’t report immigration status of arrestees to federal officials—provoked strong reaction from the mayors, who ultimately decided to skip a scheduled meeting with the President.
I will NOT be attending today’s meeting at the White House after @realDonaldTrump’s Department of Justice decided to renew their racist assault on our immigrant communities. It doesn’t make us safer and it violates America’s core values.— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 24, 2018
Local leaders argue that these policies, which consider immigration to be a federal issue, keep local law enforcement focused on local issues and encourage the undocumented to work with police and report other crimes, ultimately making localities safer.
Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and other in the administration disagree.
“I continue to urge all jurisdictions under review to reconsider policies that place the safety of their communities and their residents at risk,” Sessions said Wednesday in a written statement. “Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law.”
Last year, a series of court decisions ruled President Donald Trump’s executive order aiming to strip sanctuary cities of federal funds was unconstitutional.
The canceled meeting was supposed to discuss the president’s forthcoming infrastructure plan.