CHICAGO (AP) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel and aldermen said Chicago will remain a sanctuary city despite President Donald Trump’s executive order to cut off some federal funding from immigrant-protecting municipalities.
On Wednesday, as news was breaking that Trump has signed the executive order, the City Council overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution to reaffirm Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city. And a few minutes later, the mayor told reporters that Chicago is “going to stay a sanctuary city.”
Emanuel said he hasn’t read the executive order, so it is too early to say how much if any federal money it will cost Chicago to remain a sanctuary city. He said people from all over the world are welcome in Chicago to “pursue the American Dream.”
Trump moved aggressively to tighten the nation’s immigration controls Wednesday, signing executive actions to jumpstart construction of his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall and cut federal grants for immigrant-protecting “sanctuary cities.” As early as Thursday, he is expected to pause the flow of all refugees to the U.S. and indefinitely bar those fleeing war-torn Syria.
“Beginning today the United States of America gets back control of its borders,” Trump declared during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security. “We are going to save lives on both sides of the border.”
Trump’s crackdown on sanctuary cities — locales that don’t cooperate with immigration authorities — could cost individual jurisdictions millions of dollars. But the administration may face legal challenges, given that some federal courts have found that cities or counties cannot hold immigrants beyond their jail terms or deny them bond based only a request from immigration authorities.
Some of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas — including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — are considered sanctuary cities.
The president also moved to restart the “Secure Communities” program, which was launched under President George W. Bush and initially touted as a way for immigration authorities to quickly and easily identify people in the country illegally who had been arrested by local authorities.
The program helped the Obama administration deport a record high of more than 409,000 immigrants in 2012. But Obama eventually abandoned the program after immigration advocates and civil libertarians decried it as too often targeting immigrants charged with low-level crimes, including traffic violations.
Among those in the audience for Trump’s remarks at DHS were the families of people killed by people in the U.S. illegally. After reading the names of those killed, Trump said, “Your children will not have lost their lives for no reason.”
Trump’s actions on halting all refugees could be announced as soon as Thursday. Administration officials and others briefed on the plans cautioned that some details of the measures could still be changed, but indicated that Trump planned to follow through on his campaign promises to limit access to the U.S. for people coming from countries with terrorism ties.
AP writers Julie Pace, Alicia A. Caldwell, Vivian Salama and Andrew Taylor in Washington and E. Eduardo Castillo in Mexico City contributed to this report.