The Democratic Party mayor of Newark, N.J., Ras Baraka, said in a controversial interview Sunday morning he believes the Trump administration is trying to force local law enforcement into becoming “fugitive slave catchers.”
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“I think that them targeting sanctuary cities is a way for them to tell mayors and other folks around the country, one, that they’re sticking to what, I think, is a very unconstitutional, un-American policy and trying to intimidate us into being what I’ve called ‘fugitive slave catchers’ that run around and do their bidding in our cities,” Baraka said during an interview with Al Sharpton on MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation.”
“And if we refuse to do that, then it makes it difficult for them to continue their policy, because they don’t have the resources to run down all the undocumented residents locally,” Baraka said.
Baraka’s outlandish “slave” comparison came less than a week after the Department of Justice announced its plans to pull funding from cities that refuse to enforce federal immigration laws.
“If they actually act to take away our money, we’ll see them in court,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in response to the Justice Department’s threat, according to a report by Fox News.
There are about 200 sanctuary cities nationwide, and WCAU-TV reports there are a “handful” of cities and counties in New Jersey that identify themselves in that way, including Jersey City and Newark.
At the end of March, the city of Seattle filed a lawsuit challenging an executive order issued by President Donald Trump in January that requires cities to comply with federal immigration law or else lose access to federal funds.
“The Order is premised on a misreading of federal statutory law and departs dramatically from settled constitutional principles,” the lawsuit stated.