Mayors Stand Up to Trump’s Executive Order on Sanctuary Cities

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said the city won't be "bullied" by the Trump administration. Photo:  The Urbanist
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said the city won't be "bullied" by the Trump administration. Photo: The Urbanist

With an executive order yesterday, Donald Trump followed through on his threat to punish “sanctuary cities,” where local police do not report undocumented immigrants, by withholding federal grants.

The full implications of the order are uncertain. In New York, for instance, nearly $9 billion of the city’s $85 billion budget comes from federal grants covering transportation, education, health care, and other priorities. But legal experts say Trump’s authority to withhold funds would be limited to a narrow set of grants related to law enforcement.

Yesterday, mayors of sanctuary cities around the country made it clear that they are not backing down.

Stephen Fesler at The Urbanist passes on this statement from Seattle Mayor Ed Murray:

I want to assure Seattle residents that while they are right to be alarmed about President Trump’s divisive vision, they should not be concerned that this City will be bullied into stepping away from its commitments and values. The City of Seattle will continue to protect the rights guaranteed to the City and its people by the United States Constitution and will challenge any unconstitutional policies that threaten the security of our communities.

Trump may not have much leverage in these fights, Fesler says:

As far as possible federal funding that might be curtailed if Trump is successful in his anti-sanctuary city endeavor, it’s not clear how much is at stake in Washington. Under federal law, there must be a nexus between what federal funding would be allocated to a recipient for a specific use and what the recipient is failing to do. In this case, sanctuary cities like Seattle are generally not assisting the federal government in identifying undocumented and “illegal” immigrants nor housing them in jails if they do know that such person may be in violation of federal law. As a result, it’s generally understood that the only money likely at stake is federal funding related to law enforcement activities. For Seattle, that could mean a $10 million hit for policing. Other buckets of funding like housing assistance, healthcare, and transportation likely couldn’t be impacted. The irony of this though is that taking away law enforcement money won’t help end the supposed “carnage” that Trump claims to want stopped.

More recommended reading today: The Dirt, the blog of the America Society of Landscape Architects, digs into the new Global Street Design Guide from the National Association of City Transportation Officials. Seattle Bike Blog profiles an immigrant father who was killed riding his bike to one of his two jobs. And Transportation for America reports that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is fighting efforts to make state government more accountable for its transportation spending.

  • Kenneth

    Good! but don’t spend money protesting. Boston City Hall lit up their building with red, white, and blue lights to protest Trump, my eyes are still bleeding. Dear Utile Inc.; I’m suing you for making ugly architecture even uglier; and for wasting a mil+ that could have gone toward street improvements. Nine hit pedestrians in one day Boston, seriously.

  • Mcass777

    What’s wrong with the following statement:
    “punish “sanctuary cities,” where local police do not report undocumented immigrants”?
    The word illegal is not placed in front of immigrants. Just as an unlicensed driver would be an illegal driver, or a business with out a license is an illegal business.

  • Julia Curlee Comer

    “protect the rights . . “? These are ILLEGALS (meaning they are here illegally). Have city governments lost their minds? I’ll not do business in a “Sanctuary” City. Have people forgotten that there is a LEGAL process for immigrants that wish to be in the USA? We need a Department of Common Sense, ASAP!

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

The Red Line bus rapid transit project in Indianapolis, which voters approved as part of a package in November, is one of dozens of projects threatened by Donald Trump's budget proposal. Image: IndyGo

Think of Trump’s Budget as an Attack on Cities

|
Yesterday Donald Trump released a budget outline that calls for severe cuts to transit, and the reaction was swift and scathing. The National Association of City Transportation Officials called it "a disaster" for cities. Transportation for America said it was a "slap in the face" for local communities that have raised funds to expand transit.

What Changed Yesterday, and What Didn’t

|
America just elected Donald Trump, who got a foothold in national politics by fanning a conspiracy about Barack Obama’s country of origin, who ran a campaign premised on a naked appeal to racist anger and resentment, who shredded every norm of conduct on his way to the presidency. He’s going to occupy the White House […]

Feds to Cincinnati: Resume Streetcar or Forfeit $40 Million

|
Hows does a politician justify spurning millions in federal grants out of supposed concern for the city’s budget? John Cranley, Cincinnati’s new mayor, handled that contradiction by telling voters there was some chance that if the city cancelled its federally-funded streetcar project, the money could be used for other things, like rebuilding an interchange. It […]