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Trump's Sanctuary City Threat Triggers Confusion, Changes

Trump's Sanctuary City Threat Triggers Confusion, Changes
President Donald Trump has made it a top priority to revoke federal dollars from so-called sanctuary cities, broadly defined as places that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Trump says he believes such cities and counties are providing a haven for criminal activity. (AP)

Monday, 14 August 2017 01:26 PM

From defiant lawsuits to reversing policies, U.S. cities and counties are zeroing in on their immigration rules to avoid losing millions in public safety dollars that the White House has threatened to withhold amid a high-stakes clash over sanctuary policies.

President Donald Trump has made it a top priority to revoke federal dollars from so-called sanctuary cities, broadly defined as places that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Trump says he believes such cities and counties are providing a haven for criminal activity.

Amid an executive order and almost weekly threats by the administration, cities and counties are fighting back.

At least six locales are suing, with Chicago becoming the latest city to join the legal fray last week. Leaders in Baltimore and the Las Vegas area have been trying to prove to the federal government that they don't have sanctuary policies so they can qualify for public safety help. Some local governments have sought to comply with the administration's edicts.

The result for cities and counties: growing confusion, budgeting headaches, worries about increased crime and more tension with immigrant residents. And experts expect more lawsuits and turmoil at the local level.

"They're not getting clarity," said Yucel Ors, a program director for public safety at the National League of Cities. "When you're planning budgets or there's an expectation for grants and applications, it becomes very difficult to properly judge what your resource is going to be, especially with law enforcement."

Sanctuary policies have existed for decades. There's no single definition, but generally local officials enact policies friendly to people living in the U.S. without legal permission, including limiting cooperation with agents in local jails and prohibiting police from asking about immigration status during traffic stops.

The nation's roughly 200 sanctuary cities and counties are now a focal point in the immigration debate with Trump in the White House.

Some locales, including Florida's Miami-Dade County, have already changed their immigration policies to comply. Others are considering the same.

But the more common tactic among sanctuary cities has been to push back. Lawsuits over constitutional concerns cropped up in California's Santa Clara County, San Francisco, Seattle and two Boston-area cities, with the California lawsuits prompting a temporary injunction.

In its federal lawsuit last week, Chicago targeted new conditions for a public safety grant calling for close cooperation with federal authorities, including access to jails. Chicago, a sanctuary city since the 1980s, calls the changes unconstitutional.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was President Barack Obama's first White House chief of staff, argued Trump's aggressive stance and rhetoric impedes trust in law enforcement and could prevent immigrants from reporting crimes.

"The Trump Justice Department ... is asking the city of Chicago to choose between our core values as a welcoming city and our fundamental principles of community policing," Emanuel said at a recent news conference. "It is a false choice and a wrong choice. Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate."

In response, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions doubled down on his sanctuary cities stance, accusing Chicago of "deliberately and intentionally" adopting rules that obstruct the immigration system.

© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

   
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President Donald Trump has made it a top priority to revoke federal dollars from so-called sanctuary cities, broadly defined as places that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
sanctuary cities, funding, chicago
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2017-26-14
Monday, 14 August 2017 01:26 PM
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