Donald Trump Targets Immigrants, Refugees and So-Called Sanctuary Cities

January 25, 2017

Click here to watch "Sanctuary Cities As Resistance to Donald Trump"



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Story Transcript

DONALD TRUMP: A nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders, gets back its borders.

JAISAL NOOR: After targeting healthcare, the environment, and relaunching two controversial oil pipelines. On Wednesday, Donald Trump launched a series of actions targeting immigrants and Muslim refugees.

He blocked the issuing of visas to people from several Muslim majority and Middle Eastern North African countries, the majority of which the U.S. is currently bombing. The Real News is covering protests by immigrant and Muslim advocates and their allies taking place in response.

NIHAD AWAD: Never before in our country’s history, have we purposely, as a matter of policy imposed a ban on immigrants, or refugees, on the basis of religion, or imposed a religious litmus test on those coming to this nation.

RABBI JOSEPH BERMAN: We must speak to all of our elected officials on a national level, in the Senate, in the House of Representatives, and on a local level in our cities, in our states, everywhere. They also must stand strong against these policies and show that we will, we will, recognize the basic dignity, and worth of every single human being. We will stand against this hate and this racism.

JAISAL NOOR: On Wednesday, President Trump also signed directives to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, and to strip federal grant funding from so-called sanctuary cities.

DONALD TRUMP: Our order also does the following: ends the policy, of catch and release at the border. Requires other countries to take back their criminals. They will take ’em back. Cracks down on sanctuary cities.

JAISAL NOOR: The corporate media falsely describes, sanctuary cities as shielding undocumented immigrants from the law. We bring you a recent episode of The Real Baltimore, exploring issues of sanctuary cities and how they promised to be a major source of resistance to Donald Trump’s administration, and why his threats to cut funding to them will face legal hurdles and grassroots opposition.

DONAL TRUMP: Block funding, for sanctuary cities. We blocked the funding. No more funding.

JAISAL NOOR: Despite his threats to cut their federal funding, Donald Trump’s election has prompted major cities, from New York to California, to declare they will oppose him.

RAHM EMANUEL: To be clear about what Chicago is, it always will be a sanctuary city.

JAISAL NOOR: The sanctuary movement has its roots in the 1980s, with churches offering shelter to Latin American refugees fleeing the slaughter left in the wake of U.S. backed death squads there.

Today, hundreds of cities and counties around the country offer some type of sanctuary policy, which varies greatly by jurisdiction. But the term itself can be misleading.

FRED TSAO: I mean, from the right, the use of the term suggests that undocumented immigrates congregate in these cities and just are able to commit all sorts of crimes. And basically the cities are law enforcement-free zones. Which is certainly not the case.

JAISAL NOOR: Because there’s only about 5,000 federal immigration officers nationwide, authorities rely heavily on local authorities to help with deportations. Some of the strongest sanctuary policies exist in cities like Chicago, and the encompassing Cook County. Which prevents local authorities from asking for immigration status. Prevents the sharing of immigration status with federal authorities, and refuses to hold immigrants without a warrant.

The courts have ruled these policies, known as ICE Detainers, are unconstitutional and violate the 4th Amendment. On Monday, the nation’s capitol joined cities like Chicago, New York and LA, by offering legal representation to undocumented immigrants facing deportation. Something not guaranteed in immigration courts, like it is under normal legal proceedings.

Last year, grassroots groups and the ACLU, helped defeat a measure aimed at banning funding for sanctuary cities in Florida.

BAYLOR JOHNSON: The bill was ultimately defeated, and we think that there are some real lessons here, for folks in other states to learn as well, and that is, you know, speak to law enforcement. The Florida Sheriffs Association opposes ICE Detainers. Even the Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged that there are serious, serious constitutional issues with these unconstitutional holds.

So, when law enforcement is deciding how to allocate resources, they should be putting a priority on things that work and public safety.

JAISAL NOOR: And as far as Trump’s threats to cut funding to sanctuary cities, that would be likely challenged in court, experts tell us.

LENA GRABER: I think we’ll inevitably end up in litigation. There’s a lot of legal constraints on what the federal government can, and can’t do, to pressure states and localities to do what they want. And it’s really important to understand, sanctuary cities are not illegal policies, they’re not in defiance of federal law; they’re in fact, fully in line with our federal system, that says that states and localities get to govern their own local priorities and resources.

Although the federal government can offer incentives to localities to do what they want, they can’t coerce. I think it’ll be a long time before we have a clear answer to this question, because there’s a lot to sort out, and the Trump administration can’t do everything that it says it’s going to do.

KIM BROWN: Well, we’re now joined by our two guests in the studio, Elizabeth Alex is a Regional Director, for Casa Baltimore, which is a leading immigrants rights organization, and we’re also joined by Marc Rodriguez. He’s a long time immigrant’s rights activist. He currently serves as special assistant to Annapolis Alderman Jared Littmann, and he helps to identify and address issues in the city of Annapolis, especially those affecting the Hispanic and Latino populations. Thank you both for being…

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