President Donald Trump's executive order on travel from seven Middle East countries is the "first step toward a ban and toward a registry," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday, and he believes everything Trump said on the campaign trail should be treated "like he meant it."
"If someone says [something] out loud to the roar of the crowd, they might mean it and a lot of history suggests we should have taken people more literally, and [they] wouldn't be surprised later on," the Democratic mayor told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.
Trump spoke of both a Muslim ban and a registry during his campaign, de Blasio continued, and "this is an obvious first step." However, the weekend move, which resulted in several travelers being detained at the nation's airports, "caused revulsion all over the country," he continued, as there were older people, children, and Green Card-holding legal permanent residents being held.
"How do you put a permanent resident in the United States in detention with no charge?" said the mayor. "That is fundamentally against our values."
Terrorism is "not theoretical" in New York City, the mayor continued, as "we are the number-one terror target in America. We experienced terrorism."
But at the same time, New York is a city of immigrants, de Blasio said, and believes in respect for people of all faiths and religions, "including our Muslim brothers and sisters who are part of New York City and including 900 police officers in New York City who happen to be Muslim," said de Blasio.
"We can't see something where people are divided along religious lines and feel good about it," the mayor told MSNBC, but he does agree there is a security issue.
But instead of blocking people from specific countries or religions, de Blasio favors individual background checks that are conducted for a specific reason, if there is probable cause that confirms with the Constitution.
"Anyone who values privacy and individual liberties should have their back up at this particular time, because it's a slippery slope," said de Blasio, claiming that New York had no warning that the travel stoppage was going to happen, and no attempt was made to coordinate enforcement.
"The airports' officials were not prepared or briefed," the mayor said. "The federal employees were not prepared or briefed. It was chaos."
Meanwhile, de Blasio also addressed criticism concerning his city's status as a sanctuary city, calling the phrase often "misinterpreted."
Undocumented or permanent residents in his city need to feel comfortable reporting crime to police officers, said the mayor, but they will not make their reports if they fear deportation.
"The same will be true for schools or hospitals" de Blasio said. "If you give your information to a public official and that is handed over to immigration immediately, people won't do it. I've said this to Donald Trump and I've said this to [Attorney General nominee] Jeff Sessions."
However, the city does have a list of 170 serious and violent crimes, and people arrested for those charges will be reported reported to federal immigration officials "right way."
"If you steal a loaf of bread or have a small amount of marijuana from my point of view, I will not see somebody deported," said de Blasio.
"That is not good for anyone and leaves a bunch of kids here for no one to care for them. If you commit a serious or violent crime, we in New York City will fully cooperate with ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement]."
De Blasio also commented on the show that his city is ready for even more protests to occur during Trump's presidency, because there are "a lot of strong feelings, for good reason" because "the person who got three million votes is not in the White House."
The New York Police Department is doing a "very professional, impressive job," including during last month's Women's March, and the city is ready, said de Blasio.
"No city in America is better at making sure that the protests go peacefully for everyone involved," the mayor told MSNBC.
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