By the Associated Press
President Donald Trump says mayors who boycotted a White House event over an administration crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities are placing the needs of illegal immigrants above citizens.
“We can’t have it,” Trump says. “We want a safe country.”
Trump is welcoming a bipartisan group of local leaders to a meeting initially billed as a discussion of infrastructure, drug addiction and other topics. Trump noted the absence of invitees like New Orleans’ Mitch Landrieu and New York’s Bill de Blasio. Landrieu, the president of the US Conference of Mayors, called the meeting “untenable.”
The Justice Department has threatened subpoenas to roughly two dozen jurisdictions if they don’t hand over documents showing they aren’t withholding information about the citizenship or immigration status of people in custody. It has also threatened to withhold federal grant dollars.
Mayors from across the country are boycotting a White House meeting with President Donald Trump after the Justice Department put new pressure on cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
New York City’s Bill de Blasio and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu are among the city leaders who say they will no longer attend Wednesday’s meeting on infrastructure and other issues.
Landrieu, who leads the US Conference of Mayors says, “an attack on mayors who lead welcoming cities is an attack on everyone in our conference.”
The Justice Department sent letters Wednesday to two dozen so-called sanctuary cities demanding that they turn over documents showing they aren’t withholding information about the immigration status of people in custody.
The White House says it is disappointed by the decision.
The Justice Department is again ramping up pressure on cities seeking public safety grants to prove they are cooperating with immigration authorities.
Officials on Wednesday sent letters to roughly two dozen jurisdictions warning that the department could use subpoena power to force them to provide documents showing they aren’t withholding information about the immigration status of people in custody.
The Justice Department has threatened to deny important grant money from communities that refuse to share such information. It’s part of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ promised crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities.
The 23 jurisdictions include Chicago, New York, Denver, Los Angeles and the states of Illinois, Oregon and California. Officials said the places have been previously warned they need to provide information about their policies to be receive grants.