On January 25th, President Trump signed an executive order promising to withhold federal money from cities that protect undocumented immigrants, otherwise know as “sanctuary cities.”
After Trump’s threat to pull funding for sanctuary jurisdictions, several towns, cities and counties around the nation are caving and abandoning their “sanctuary” pledges to shield illegal immigrants from federal authorities.
Dayton, Ohio, dropped a policy that restricted the city’s cooperation with immigration officials pursuing illegal immigrants arrested for misdemeanors or felony property crimes, according to the Dayton Daily News. Police Chief Richard Biehl said federal authorities will no longer be impeded by the city when pursuing illegal immigrants being held by his department.
Other communities that have dropped policies of shielding illegal immigrant suspects from Immigration and Customs Enforcement include Miami-Dade and Dayton, are Saratoga, N.Y., Finney County, Kan., and Bedford, Penn., according to The Center for Immigration Studies, which keeps a list of sanctuary communities.
“We are reviewing policy changes at a multitude of other jurisdictions as well,” said Marguerite Telford, CIS’s director of communications, who said the organization is “being inundated” by officials on its sanctuary map who want to be taken off.
The mayor of Miami-Dade County, which was considered a sanctuary community, made headlines recently when he changed a policy that called for refusing to hold arrested immigrants for immigration officials unless they committed to reimbursing the county for the cost of detention.
Telling reporters that he did not want to imperil hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding, Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered jails to comply with federal immigration detention requests.
The changes have come on the heels of President Trump’s executive order giving the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security the power to cut federal funding to communities that are deemed sanctuaries for illegal immigrants. Trump also has authorized the DHS to publish a weekly list of sanctuary communities.
Among those who favor sanctuary cities and have vowed to defy Trump’s orders despite the pressure of losing funding are uber-liberal New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio and the crime-ridden city of Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“We’re going to defend all of our people regardless of where they come from, regardless of their immigration status,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio at a recent press conference.
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.”
However, CIS and other groups that favor strict immigration enforcement commend Trump for his bold move.
“Are you really going to pick and choose what laws you’re going to enforce?” asked Telford. “If you want a change [in immigration policy], go to the legislature.”
Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, predicted 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.”