“I want to assure all of our families that Chicago is and will remain a sanctuary city,” promised Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, joining with several other mayors around the country who have said they will defy President-elect Trump’s promise to cut off their federal funds. A sanctuary city is one in which local law-enforcement officials refuse to inform federal immigration officials about their illegal alien residents, or turn them over for deportation.
Emanuel was the chief of staff for President Obama (who is also from Chicago, where he was a “community organizer” before his election to the Illinois Senate) before leaving that position to run for mayor of the Windy City. He insisted, “Chicago has been a city of immigrants since it was founded. We have always welcomed people of all faiths and backgrounds, and while the administration will change, our values and our commitment to inclusion will not.”
One should note that though Chicago has indeed been a city of immigrants since it was founded, those early immigrants were legal.
Other officials in Illinois joined Emanuel in opposing the enforcement of federal immigration law in Chicago. Susana Mendoza, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, and the comptroller-elect in Illinois, demanded that Governor Bruce Rauner join in insisting Trump back off his intended policy of cutting off funding for sanctuary cities.
Mendoza said that Rauner, a Republican, “should be saying it’s wrong” for Trump to threaten to cut off funds to sanctuary cities. “I would expect that the governor would say, ‘that’s ridiculous.’ Besides moral bankruptcy, it’s bad fiscal policy for the city or any city.” Rauner has not yet responded to Mendoza’s comments.
Chicago Alderman Danny Solis did comment, however, lamenting, “Across the country and in Chicago and Illinois … young men and women [are] very distraught about this.” He added that he hoped Reince Priebus (chairman of the Republican National Committee, who is slated to become Trump’s chief of staff) and House Speaker Paul Ryan would dissuade Trump from carrying out his campaign promise. “Though I disagree [with Ryan and Priebus] … I have some respect for [them],” Solis said.
Democratic Party officeholders such as Mendoza and Solis state they have heard from illegal residents who are terrified of imminent deportation since Trump’s election. Mayor Emanuel has announced that any illegals who are in need of legal resources should call 311.
Other sanctuary cities have also announced that they will remain such — municipalities in which illegal aliens can continue to live in violation of federal immigration law. Other cities besides Chicago that have taken this stance include Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, and dozens of others.
New York City’s extreme left-wing mayor Bill de Blasio has also vowed to protect the city’s illegal aliens from deportation. “We are not going to sacrifice a half million people who live among us," he declared, "who are part of our community. We are not going to tear families apart.” In 1988, de Blasio got his start in politics by raising money for the Soviet-aligned Sandinista political party in Nicaragua. His politics are considered so radical that his proposal for a special tax on millionaires was even opposed by Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Speaking for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Connie Llanos said it was the mayor’s “hope that no president would violate those principles, the very foundation of our nation, by taking punitive action on cities that are simply protecting the well-being of residents.”
The issue of sanctuary cities first came to the attention of most Americans after the shooting death of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle in July 2015, by Juan Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal alien from Mexico who had been deported five times previously. He was free to kill Steinle because he had been released from jail by San Francisco County Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi as a result of the city’s sanctuary policy.
Incredibly, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department had requested in March 2015 that the Bureau of Prisons (Lopez-Sanchez was serving time for illegally and repeatedly entering the United States) turn Lopez-Sanchez over to them for an outstanding drug warrant. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials asked the sheriff to keep him in custody until he could be picked up by immigration officers. However, since San Francisco is a sanctuary city, the sheriff ignored the request and released him.
After Lopez-Sanchez killed Kate Steinle (claiming it was an accident, as he was shooting at a seal when his bullet from a stolen .40-caliber pistol struck her in the back, and pierced her aorta), San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy was heavily criticized by several politicians, and also by Donald Trump. Lopez-Sanchez had stolen the gun from a Bureau of Land Management vehicle. He used it to fire three shots, with one bullet striking Steinle. Her father was with her at the time and administered CPR, but she later died at San Francisco General Hospital.
Trump censured the city’s sanctuary policy for the woman’s death; however, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest put the blame on Republicans in Congress for refusing to pass comprehensive immigration reform as supported by President Obama.
The tragic death of Kate Steinle led to an effort to pass “Kate’s Law," which would have established a 10-year maximum prison sentence for any illegal alien who reentered the country after being denied admission, excluded, deported, or removed on three or more prior occasions. It also would have provided for a five-year mandatory minimum prison term for any illegal alien who reentered after being convicted of an aggravated felony or following two or more prior convictions for illegal reentry.
The Senate version of Kate’s Law failed to pass because of a Democrat-led filibuster, as did another bill which would have punished sanctuary cities.
What a President Trump will actually do about the defiance of sanctuary cities is unknown, but many Democrats supported President Obama’s threat to cut off federal education funds to public schools refusing to allow transgendered students to use bathrooms and showers they simply “identify” with.