New York. Santa Fe. Chicago.
Some of America’s largest cities say they are going to remain so-called sanctuary cities even though they risk being cut off financially by the federal government once Donald Trump takes office.
“Block funding for sanctuary cities. We block the funding. No more funding,” Trump said in August when he laid out his immigration plans at a rally in Phoenix. “Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars.”
Should Trump carry through on that pledge, his home city of New York could stand to lose close to $10.4 billion in federal funds, according to budget documents sent from the City Council Speaker’s office. Among some of the biggest recipients of federal funds in the city are the Department of Social Services, the New York City Housing Authority and the Administration for Children’s Services.
New York is a sanctuary city and it has laws in place that protect undocumented immigrants accused of low-level nonviolent offenses — like traffic stops or jumping a subway turnstile — from being turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Those who commit serious felony offenses, such as murder or assault, however, are not shielded.
The day after Trump was elected, New York mayor Bill de Blasio was asked at a news conference how he’d respond to Trump’s plan. “We’re not going to tear families apart. So we will do everything we know how to do to resist that,” he said at the time.
“We’re going to push back like hell. I’ve been clear, our mayor has been clear and our governor has been clear that we’re going to protect our values,” New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito told CNNMoney.
Santa Fe stands to lose about $6 million in federal funding, or about 2% of its annual budget, city officials said.
Nevertheless, Mayor Javier Gonzales has pledged to stand by his city’s sanctuary status.
“The loss of federal funds would be certainly devastating, but we’re not going to compromise our values. We’ll have to find our way through it and we will,” he told CNNMoney.
Most of the city’s economy is driven by tourism, which brings in about $1.4 billion a year, city officials said.
“The new immigrant provides a critical supply of labor and skill sets that are needed to meet the ongoing demand of a healthy tourism economy,” said Gonzales. “They’re participating in our schools and are part of our labor force, they’re going off and fighting for our country.”
Gonzales advised Trump and Congress to look back at what Ronald Reagan did with immigration as president and make reforming the broken immigration system a top priority.