In his first week as president, Donald Trump hoped to intimidate cities into turning their backs on the undocumented community. With a January 25 executive order, he vowed to take federal funds away from sanctuary cities, that is those that refuse to release immigrants to United States Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents. While some bent to his will, other cities doubled down their efforts to protect the undocumented community. In New York City, Trump has further fueled Speaker of the NYC Council Melissa Mark-Viverito, who’s fiercely motivated to protect the city’s legacy as one of the world’s most immigrant-friendly cities. And now with a conference on sanctuary cities taking place this week, she’s also looking to make her mark on a national scale.
Today and Tuesday Mark-Viverito and Local Progress – a network of elected officials – will lead a National Conference on Sanctuary Cities, a first-of-its-kind event, with about a dozen lawmakers from across the country. The event will take place at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and will include Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, civil rights bureau chief at the Office of the Attorney General of New York State Lourdes Rosado, and Latino Victory Foundation President Cristóbal Alex.
“There is power in numbers – so our next step must be to join forces,” Mark-Viverito wrote in an op-ed on Univision. “The convening aims to establish a coalition of local elected officials dedicated to defending our immigrant residents and to share best practices, look at new strategies for litigation and organizing, and facilitate strategic partnerships to meet our shared goals.”
The event aims to bring together people from all walks of life – elected officials, organizers, and university administrators – so that they can come up with multi-faceted solutions. As MMV wrote, their different experiences will allow them to continue to build on the work that’s already started.
“We will build our own wall of resistance,” she added. “It’s time for towns and cities to stand up for what’s right and fulfill the country’s promise. Our values of fair play, inclusion, and the rule of law can overcome the current onslaught and, together, sanctuary cities will meet the challenge head on.”
Learn more about the event here.