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U.S. mayors vow to challenge executive order.

U.S. mayors have responded harshly to President Trump’s executive order that would penalize cities failing to assist in identifying and detaining undocumented immigrants. The order authorized the Department of Homeland Security to halt funding to areas where local law enforcement officers do not aid federal agents in identifying individuals who have not completed the immigration process. Previous to this presidential action, cooperation between police officers and ICE agents was provided voluntarily and not mandated by law.

Certain cities, known as “sanctuary cities,” actively protect the undocumented by refusing to inquire about the immigrant’s status, by providing official forms of identification and by maintaining translators on staff. In these areas, law enforcement will not detain undocumented individuals unless a warrant compels them to do so. 

Mayors and police chiefs of these cities agree that protecting the undocumented maintains a sense of security and encourages cooperation. By agreeing to the requirements of the executive order, officials fear they will destroy the trust they spent years developing in the immigrant community.

For these officials, sacrificing federal funds is the price to be paid to strengthen community relations. Sharing his commitment to immigrant safety, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck stated, “We have built relationships by effective law enforcement that doesn’t focus on where a person was born or the color of their skin. And we don’t intend to change that.” Mayors in Chicago, New York City, Boston and Providence echoed this sentiment.

In addition to their condemnation of the executive order, many mayors have threatened to challenge its legality in court. Although the order has been signed, it may the case that few mayors will enforce it as so many are actively resisting it.   


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