Several mayors refused to attend a meeting Wednesday with President Trump after the Department of Justice (DOJ) threatened 23 jurisdictions with subpoenas should they not immediately report their sanctuary policies. The president responded to the slight as could be expected: He said that sanctuary policies hurt the American people, accused the absent mayors of putting “the needs of criminal, illegal immigrants over law-abiding America,” and called the whole boycott a political stunt. Then he went on with his meeting.
Late Wednesday morning, the DOJ sent letters to jurisdictions they had identified as sanctuaries for illegal aliens. Chicago; Cook County, IL; New York City; California; Albany, NY; Berkeley, CA; Bernalillo County, NM; Burlington, VT; both city and county of Denver, CO; Fremont, CA; Jackson, MS; King County, WA; Lawrence, MA; City of Los Angeles, CA; Louisville, KY; Monterey County, CA; Sacramento County, CA; both city and county of San Francisco; Sonoma County, CA; Watsonville, CA; Wet Palm Beach, FL; Illinois; and Oregon all received notice.
All 23 jurisdictions had been previously contacted by the DOJ but had not complied. Fox News reports:
If these jurisdictions can’t prove they are complying with federal law, senior DOJ officials told Fox News, federal funding could be withheld and the DOJ may demand the return of 2016 federal funding some of the cities have already received.
Immediately, several of the mayors who were initially expected to attend a meeting with the president to discuss infrastructure and how best to combat the opioid epidemic announced that they would boycott the Trump administration by skipping the meeting. Of the mayors who spurned the president’s meeting were Plano TX Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, New Orleans Mayor, and head of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mitch Landrieu, and, by far the most famous, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Many other mayors did attend, however, and the meeting went on as scheduled – despite Mayor Landrieu’s bold claim that the meeting was canceled.
President Trump lambasted the boycotting mayors in return, accusing them of putting illegals and their own agendas before the American people and calling the whole boycott a political stunt. Other members of the White House staff had comments of their own. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said “It’s a little hard for them to cancel a meeting that they did not organize,” and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders pointed out that you don’t just get to pick which laws you want to follow.
Is Immigration Enforcement Racist and Unconstitutional?
Mayor Landrieu called each letter “an attack on one of our cities’ mayors who is following the Constitution,” and de Blasio called it a “racist assault” that “violates America’s core values.”
I will NOT be attending today’s meeting at the White House after @realDonaldTrump’s Department of Justice decided to renew their racist assault on our immigrant communities. It doesn’t make us safer and it violates America’s core values.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 24, 2018
How is the DOJ violating the Constitution? The consequences of not complying is simply the loss of federal funding from the DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs and Office of Community Oriented Policing Services – grants that explicitly require compliance with federal law enforcement agencies.
DOJ Spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores summed up the situation during her Wednesday morning appearance on Fox & Friends: “They didn’t have to take that money, but they did. And when they took it, they said they would comply with federal law. So what we’re saying is if we find out you’re not complying with federal law, we’re taking the tax dollars back.”
As for the claim of racism – that’s just ridiculous. If President Trump – or anyone else who prioritizes legal citizens over illegal aliens – is indeed racist, then where’s the animus toward all members of the allegedly targeted races? No such claim can stand in the face of acceptance of those who took the required steps to become citizens – or those who were born Americans – regardless of race. Racism isn’t wanting to see illegal aliens deported – it isn’t even a hatred of immigrants in general. It’s animosity toward all members of one (or more) race. It’s hating every Hispanic person merely for being Hispanic, not advocating the deportation of illegals from south of the border while accepting the rest as equal citizens. It’s hating all Muslims the world over just for being different, not banning travel, regardless of race, from certain nations known to harbor terrorists.
Ultimately, this display of outrage was nothing more than political grandstanding – just more of the same from a class of politicians who either don’t have the capacity or merely don’t want to do their jobs and actually put the legal citizens of their jurisdictions first.