5 Sanctuary Cities That Will Keep Protecting Undocumented Immigrants Despite Trump’s Victory

Lead Photo: Kevin Kelleher/Special to S.F. Examiner
Kevin Kelleher/Special to S.F. Examiner
Read more

During a campaign stop in Phoenix in late August, Donald Trump pledged to dismantle sanctuary cities by withholding federal funding. “We will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths,” he said, according to Quartz. “Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars, and we will work with Congress to pass legislation to protect those jurisdictions that do assist federal authorities.”

By strong arming the about 300 cities that protect undocumented immigrants across the United States, Trump hopes to bully them into releasing immigrants to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. However, on top of providing a safe haven for immigrant communities, sanctuary cities encourage undocumented people to cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation of crimes without fear of deportation. This measure is often necessary in order to identify dangerous criminals and improve public safety, which is why these types of laws and policies have wide support from police departments and law enforcement organizations all over the country.

Critics of sanctuary cities use the death of Kathryn Steinle – and similar cases – to bolster their anti-sanctuary city stance. In 2015, a Mexican national with a criminal record shot Steinle in San Francisco’s Embarcadero. He had been previously deported several times. And while Steinle’s death is a tragedy, it’s also uncommon. There isn’t a clear answer on whether or not sanctuary cities are safe. But immigrants are much less likely to commit crimes than those born in the United States, according to the Washington Post.

Now with a Trump presidency on the horizon, mayors across the United States have spoken out about what steps they’ll take next. And while there’s some mayors who may bend to his will, here are five cities who will stand with their undocumented immigrants:




Photo: Elaine Thompson/AP

Seattle has shielded undocumented immigrants from ICE since 2003. On Wednesday, Ed Murray said that continuing to provide a haven is “the most American thing we could possibly do.”

“These are our neighbors, and we will continue to support our neighbors,” he said, according to the Seattle Times. “We can’t allow ourselves to be divided and sorted out. That’s not America.”


New York City

Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty

On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference, where he vowed to do everything in his power to protect undocumented immigrants. “We’re not going to take anything lying down,” he said. “We are not going to sacrifice a half million people who live among us. We’re not going to tear families apart. We will do everything we know how to do to resist that.”

He even went as far as saying that his administration would destroy any records it has on undocumented people if it has to.


Los Angeles

In an email, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s spokeswoman, Connie Llanos, explained how it would move forward. “We comply with federal immigration agencies, but insist that detainer requests be handled constitutionally,” Llanos wrote, according to Fortune. “It is Mayor Garcetti’s sincere 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.”


San Francisco

Through Twitter and at a news conference, Ed Lee outlined how committed San Francisco is to protecting undocumented immigrants. “I think we have about a half-billion dollars in direct funding — probably more when we look at how we disperse state funding,” Lee said. “I hope politics does not get in the way of public service.”



Jim Kenney is also ready to fight for immigrants, according to “First of all, we’ve changed the name from ‘sanctuary city’ to ‘the Fourth Amendment city,’ ” Kenney said. “We respect and live up to the Fourth Amendment, which means you can’t be held against your will without a warrant from the court signed by a judge. So, yeah, we will continue to be a Fourth Amendment city abiding by the Constitution.”

When asked how he’d handle Trump cutting off funds from Philadelphia, he said that it’s something he’ll worry about when it comes. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, and we’ll see how it goes and we’ll try to figure something out,” he said.



Mayor Steve Adler said that while we don’t know what comes next, he’s certain of one thing. “In this time of uncertainty, I stand here certain about one thing: Austin will not waver,” he said. “Austin has been a visible and outspoken champion for justice, equity, and opportunity. And nothing that happened this week changes who we are as a community, our values and our culture.”

November 14 at 4:40 p.m.: This post has been updated to include Austin