President Trump has been in office just seven days and he’s already signed four executive orders, keeping up with campaign promises, one of which was taking a step further into deporting millions of undocumented immigrants as well as building that infamous wall (that’ll probably never be built). The order titled “Enhancing public safety in the Interior of the United States”, orders to what have been nicknamed as “sanctuary cities”, cities like New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, and more, to comply with any requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and threatens to cancel any federal grants to those that don’t comply. These cities appear to be targeted because they offer social services to its residents, regardless of immigration status. One service we know of here in New York City is the Municipal ID program known as IDNYC, not only offers free admission to a select number of the City’s museums but is also a great alternative to some form of photo ID for city resident who cannot otherwise obtain one through the State’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
So what are these sanctuary cities doing in response? NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYS’s attorney general, and California legislators aren’t planning on complying with this executive order. Miami-Dade County, on the other hand, is a different story.
Mayor de Blasio, along with former mayor Mike Bloomberg, doesn’t see undocumented immigrants as such, but as fellow New Yorkers. According to DNAInfo, de Blasio acknowledges that “we have half a million New Yorkers who are undocumented and they are part of the fabric of this city,” and has already started to set aside a reserve fund in case those federal cuts do happen. As reported by the Daily Beast, Bloomberg stated during his tenure as mayor, “although they broke the law by illegally crossing our borders or overstaying their visas and our businesses broke the law by employing them, our city’s economy would be a shell of itself had they not, and it would collapse if they were deported.” That Daily Beast article highlighted undocumented day laborers in NYC who simply look to make an honest dollar. The city receives an estimate of $7 billion from the federal government, which contributes to law enforcement and NYPD’s anti-terrorism efforts, social services such as NYCHA and other affordable housing, public assistance, child protective services as well as HIV/AIDS prevention programs, which is almost fully funded by federal dollars.
New York attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman outright called this executive order “unconstitutional”, noting the trust that has been built between immigrant communities and local law enforcement is vital to the safety of ALL citizens. He released a full statement on this, using the president’s favorite form of mass communication: Twitter.
— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) January 25, 2017
According to the LA Times, California’s high court decisions have interpreted financial threats like this as an unlawful intrusion on the state’s rights. San Francisco officials have determined that since the wording of the executive order is rather vague, it may not even be applicable to them.
Miami, on the other hand, has given in to such demands. According to USA Today, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has refused for years to detain undocumented immigrants for federal immigration authorities but changed his mind upon the signing of the order since it would cut federal funding. Gimenez signed his own executive this week ordering the director of Miami-Dade’s corrections department to begin complying with any requests from ICE. Money talks, huh?