Jersey City Mayor to Reaffirm ‘Sanctuary City' Status as White House Threatens Funds

What to Know

  • Jersey City is officially joining cities across the U.S. as a "sanctuary city"
  • The cities don't cooperate with federal immigration officials working to identify and arrest people who are in the U.S. illegally
  • President Trump has vowed to strip federal funds from the cities; New York City stands to lose the most, about $701 million

The mayor of Jersey City plans to sign an executive order re-affirming the city’s so-called sanctuary city status at the risk of losing federal funding and support.

Mayor Steven M. Fulop will join the City Council and immigration advocates Friday as he signs the executive order, which will outline a detailed policy for the city’s police department and other city agencies who work with immigrant communities.

Lawmakers in sanctuary cities don’t cooperate with federal immigration officials working to identify and arrest those who enter the U.S. illegally.

By signing the executive order, which was drafted with help from immigration advocates and the ACLU, Jersey City joins other cities in New Jersey like Newark and Passaic as a sort of safe haven for undocumented immigrants.

The order puts the city in direct conflict with President Donald Trump, who has signed executive orders tightening immigration laws, including an order that strips sanctuary cities of federal funds. 

The order also pits the city against Gov. Chris Christie, who has vowed to punish cities in the state that harbor undocumented immigrants. 

Nearly 270,000 immigrants and refugees have entered the U.S. over the past 10 years from seven countries that President Trump named in the travel ban he announced last week. The ban sparked widespread protests last weekend, including in New Jersey and New York.

The Jersey City mayor’s office says that 40 percent of its residents are foreign-born.

New York is among the six states that have accepted the most immigrants and refugees from the countries in Trump's travel ban, but thousands more have landed in less populated states like Maine, Utah and Nebraska.

Trump has already signed an executive order to withhold federal grant money from sanctuary cities, a move that has the support of Gov. Christie.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to fight Trump's executive order blocking federal grants to sanctuary cities. 

De Blasio says that instead of filling its stated purpose of increasing public safety, the executive order would undermine it by damaging police and community relations, and putting cuts first and foremost on the NYPD. 

Other sanctuary cities across the country have also vowed to fight the White House, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit and Washington, D.C. 

Of Trump's executive order, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said last month that "we're going to strip federal grant money from the sanctuary states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants. The American people are no longer going to have to be forced to subsidize this disregard for our laws."

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