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The Rundown

Trump Administration Hints at Plans to Arrest Mayors Protecting Refugees

How you can help elected officials supporting sanctuary cities.

President Donald Trump may be taking his crackdown on civil dissent to the next level, particularly when it comes to those who think differently on immigration. He started his inaugural year with an immigration ban on Muslim majority countries, repealed DACA, aggressively targeted companies suspected of employing undocumented workers and now has sicced the Justice Department on mayors of sanctuary cities.


Sanctuary cities are locales across the country that have local policies that provide a buffer from complying with federal immigration law. In these locations, local law enforcement may not report a person’s undocumented status to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in order to develop better relationships with communities. Undocumented people and those related to them, are less likely to report crimes if there’s a chance that revealing their immigration status could get them deported.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has argued in the past that violent crime is higher in sanctuary cities, but the facts say otherwise. Now the Justice Department (DOJ), led by Sessions, is toying with the idea of filing criminal charges against state and local officials that govern sanctuary cities. On January 16, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said, “The Department of Justice is reviewing what avenues might be available [and] the context of this is of course not only putting my officers at risk, but also finding an efficient and effective way to enforce our immigration laws.”

Nielsen claimed that when local jurisdictions cooperate with the feds, it’s both easier and safer for ICE authorities to their jobs. Also, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Thomas Homan, is in favor of suing politicians in sanctuary cities. In an interview with Fox News about California’s decision to become a sanctuary state, Homan said that the DOJ should hold politicians personally accountable and should be charged with federal crimes.


What you can do:

Aside from exacerbating the tension between law enforcement and undocumented immigrants, immigration activists say that the DOJ’s anti-sanctuary city campaign is unlawful and a violation of the Constitution’s federalism protections, which allow for different levels of government to function independently to a certain extent.

If you want to protect undocumented immigrants living in sanctuary cities, reach out to your elected officials share your opinion on what is appropriate for the DOJ to do in this situation. Also, contact your mayor and tell them you stand in solidarity with immigrants in your city.

And then some:

In response to the possibility of being slammed with criminal charges, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said she is willing to face whatever consequences the DOJ may throw at her even if it includes jail time.

Similarly, state senators from California, Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, have rebuked the DOJ actions against elected officials of sanctuary cities.