WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump’s well-documented war on illegal immigration waged a new battle on Wednesday as the Justice Departement threatened to subpoena 23 jurisdictions if they failed to turn over information regarding their “sanctuary city” policies.
The office of Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent letters to city leaders in Denver, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, West Palm Beach, and others ordering the surrender of records relating to whether or not their jurisdictions are “unlawfully restricting information sharing by law enforcement officers with federal immigration authorities.”
I continue to urge all jurisdictions under review to reconsider policies that place the safety of their communities and their residents at risk,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law.”
City leaders who had received the letters were quick to attack the Trump administration over it’s “discriminatory” efforts, with many threatening to boycott a planned White House meeting on infrastructure in response.
“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,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) tweeted. “It doesn’t make us safer and it violates America’s core values.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) echoed de Blasio’s comments, stating officers in his city strive to build trust with residents to reduce public safety threats, and “you cannot do that if you drive a wedge between any immigrant community and the law enforcement.”
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who also serves as the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said he too would boycott the meeting in response to the threat.
“Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s decision to threaten mayors and demonize immigrants yet again – and use cities as political props in the process – has made this meeting untenable,” Landrieu said.
Unphased, the White House said the meeting would go on regardless of who chose not to attend.
“We are disappointed that a number of mayors have chosen to make a political stunt instead of participating in an important discussion with the President and his administration,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said in response to the backlash.
The move by the Trump administration is just the latest in a series of efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, an issue that President Trump campaigned heavily on during the 2016 presidential election.