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El presidente de Estados Unidos, Donald J. Trump, habla durante un encuentro con alcaldes estadounidenses en el Salón Este de la Casa Blanca, en Washington (EE.UU.), el miércoles 24 de enero de 2018. Trump se reunió con varios alcaldes para tratar temas relacionados con economía, su política de inmigración y ciudades santuario. EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS
El presidente de Estados Unidos, Donald J. Trump, habla durante un encuentro con alcaldes estadounidenses en el Salón Este de la Casa Blanca, en Washington (EE.UU.), el miércoles 24 de enero de 2018. Trump se reunió con varios alcaldes para tratar temas…

Trump ambushes the Sanctuary Cities

Between debates about the future of DACA, the Trump Administration has again attacked the mayors of the Sanctuary Cities.

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The Trump Circus has inaugurated its new show: an ambush against the mayors of the Sanctuary Cities.

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice increased its pressure against the Sanctuary Cities by threatening in a new letter to withdraw funds for local security and development, if the mayors failed to comply with the accountability of their collaboration with the immigration forces.

The letter was made public at the same time that a select group of mayors received an invitation to meet with President Trump as if it were a private club. Several of the mayors of the Sanctuary Cities were excluded from the exclusive meeting, in a message that was intended to be clearly read: those who do not comply with the presidential demands will be marginalized from the federal benefits.

As reported by El Diario de Nueva York (in Spanish), members of the Conference of Mayors of the United States (USCM), including the mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti, condemned through a joint statement what they considered as "a new threat of the Administration to issue judicial summonses against 23 mayors of Sanctuary Cities".

"The mayors of the United States want to comply with the Constitution but this is a problem of the Congress, not of the mayors. They won’t divide us or intimidate us," said the mayor of New Orleans and president of the Conference during the opening of his 86th annual winter meeting.

In a demonstration of support, and surrounded by the mayors of cities with a high concentration of immigrant population, Mayor Mitch Landrieu (who did receive an invitation to the meeting) condemned the administration's strategy and President Trump's decision to meet with a select group of mayors "and not with the entire Conference, as has been the custom in the past".

According to the media, several mayors who did not receive the letter decided to boycott the meeting with the president as a gesture of solidarity, echoing the words of Landrieu, who said: "an attack on one of our cities’ mayors who is following the Constitution is an attack on all of us,” according to CNN.  

Both Landrieu and Bill de Blasio (New York) and other mayors decided not to attend as a protest for the attacks of the Department of Justice against the Sanctuary Cities.

De Blasio said on Twitter that he would not attend the meeting "after the Department of Justice decided to renew their racist assault on our immigrant communities," he wrote. "It doesn’t make us safer and it violates America’s core values.”

For his part, President Trump rejected the position of the Conference during his meeting with the mayors, assuring that those who had decided to boycott the event "have put needs of criminal illegal immigrants over law-abiding Americans, but let me tell you, the vast majority of people showed up," the president said, according to CNN.

In a press conference simultaneous to the meeting, De Blasio extended his denunciations, assuring that the letter of the Department of Justice was "a slap in the face for our cities and our people".

"This proves there was no intention to have an honest dialogue," De Blasio said, referring to the letter. "I came down here expecting a serious meeting, and what I got was a publicity stunt from the Trump administration."

As reported by TIME magazine, 23 jurisdictions received the letter, including the city of Illinois, New York, California, New Mexico, Washington, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Vermont, and Oregon.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has repeatedly blamed the Sanctuary Cities for protecting gang crime and violence, and on Wednesday reinforced his position in statements, saying that, "We have seen too many examples of the threat to public safety represented by jurisdictions that actively thwart the federal government’s immigration enforcement. Enough is enough.”

However, and as the magazine continues, several activists from the Sanctuary Cities assure that these asylum policies in fact "improve public safety by promoting trust among law enforcement and immigrant communities and reserving the scarce police resources for other, more urgent crime-fighting needs.”

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