With the president elect’s inauguration just over a month away, it will soon become clear whether he intends on using beginning days in the White House to try to follow through on his promise to end federal funding for sanctuary cities. Scores of such cities, however, are standing resolute, with officials from over three dozen of them publicly reaffirming their commitment to “basic human decency.”
Sanctuary cities, sometimes called Fourth Amendment cities, as The Atlantic‘s CityLab has described, offer some protection to undocumented immigrants because they “keep local policing and federal immigration enforcement separate by asking local police to decline ‘detainers’—non-binding requests from ICE asking for extended detention of inmates they suspect are deportable.”
According to a new tally by Politico, out of a total of 47 sanctuary cities, “officials in at least 37 cities have doubled down since the election, reaffirming their current policies or practices in public statements, despite the threat of pushback from the incoming administration, and at least four cities have newly declared themselves sanctuary cities since the election.”
There are hundreds of sanctuary cities in the United States, and many of them are already engaged in acts of defiance, publicly letting the federal government know that they will do absolutely everything they can to protect immigrants in their communities.
That broader definition seems to apply to Boulder, Colo., where city leaders are hoping to pass an ordinance before inauguration day to make it a sanctuary city—though whether or not the term ‘sanctuary’ actually ends up in the ordinance is unclear at this point.
Santa Ana, Calif., as Politico writes, is like the Vermont cities of Burlington, Montpelier, and Winooski in that it declared itself a sanctuary city post-election.
“The day after Donald Trump got elected, our kids were falling apart emotionally. They thought their parents would be deported,” the Los Angeles Times quotes said Sal Tinajero, a Santa Ana City Council member and local high school teacher, as saying.
“The reason you’re seeing this push now is that us leaders … want to tell them they are going to be protected. If they are going to come for them, they have to come through us first,” Tinajero said.
In an open letter published last month in Massachusetts, Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone wrote, “We will not turn our back on our neighbors. Our diversity is our strength. If cities have to make a stand for basic human decency, then we’re going to make that stand. We saw a presidential campaign based on fear and a desire to ostracize anyone who could be categorized as different. That may have swung an election, but it provides us with no roadmap forward. Tearing communities apart only serves to tear them down. We’re going to keep bringing people together, making sure we remain a sanctuary for all. We are one community. We’ve got values that work. We know what makes America great,” Curtatone concluded.