Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has vowed to defy President Donald Trump's calls to end "sanctuary cities" and his threats to defund municipalities that refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement. He explained to Anderson Cooper on CNN Thursday his reasoning for maintaining those controversial policies.
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) January 27, 2017
"Mayor Garcetti what was your reaction," Cooper asked, "when President Trump's executive order basically told cities like yours to play ball when it comes to immigration enforcement or lose out on federal funding?"
Well, I think a lot of us in American cities know that we're the engine of opportunity, of economic comeback. We're the places where American goods come through and jobs are generated. Our own tax dollars coming back to us is something I think we deserve. And separating families or taking away funds doesn't seem like a way forward to create jobs or safe streets and safe communities. So we certainly wanted to speak out and speak up about those quintessentially American values that cities represent.
And I think our Constitution has pretty strong precedent in saying that local governments and state governments can't have a financial gun to their heads from the federal government no matter who's in charge. And we will continue to cooperate with our federal authorities, but in a lawful constitutional way.
"Well, but President Trump says essentially there has to be law and order," Anderson added, "and that you're not cooperating, I mean why not, for those who disagree with the idea of sanctuary cities, why not turn over people who have committed crimes to immigration authorities?"
"We do all the time," Garcetti answered, "and I think there's a misconception that we don't. We hand over dangerous criminals to our immigration officials, but what we don't do is that we don't do that without a warrant or without a constitutional process, just based on the way somebody looks or where they live or who they are."
But faced with the ultimatum presented by Trump, Garcetti says he and other mayors will resist and face having their funding revoked.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 27, 2017
"The president says that federal monies for law enforcement personnel or reasons," continued Cooper, "that would continue to flow, but others programs might be hurt. If it came down to losing $100 million for a program you think is important, or following federal law, which would you do?"
The mayor replied:
It's not law today, and we think that demand is both unconstitutional and un-American. In fact, just over a year ago, the Supreme Court agreed with us when the Obama administration tried to force states to expand medicaid, and some states and some governors decided not to. The Supreme Court agreed with them and that you can't put that financial gun to the head of local and state governments who decide what they want and what is best for their areas.
Trump promised many times during his campaign to shut down sanctuary city policies where local governments refuse to cooperate with federal authorities attempting to capture and deport illegal aliens. On the same day as Garcetti's interview, Trump was declaring victory as the mayor of Miami-Dade in Florida announced that they would be following Trump's order and revoking their sanctuary city policies.