Trump threatens to withhold relief from states if they don't help deport immigrants

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Donald Trump is threatening to condition critical coronavirus aid to states on changes to sanctuary city policies.

On Tuesday Donald Trump seemed to threaten to withhold much-needed coronavirus aid to states unless they helped his administration deport immigrants.

"The problem with the states is, we're not looking to recover 25 years of bad management and to give them the money that they lost. That's unfair to other states," Trump said at a White House press briefing. "Now, if it's COVID-related, I guess we can talk about it. But we'd want certain things also, including sanctuary city adjustments," he added, saying he thought even "radical-left folks" were against sanctuary cities.

Trump said, "If we were gonna do something for the states, I think they'd probably want something having to do with sanctuary cities."

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Sanctuary cities are those that have instituted official policies that restrict or prohibit local agencies from assisting federal immigration officials in enforcing federal laws covering the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants and asylum-seekers. Such policies are supported by national organizations representing mayors and law enforcement officers as a way to build trust with all immigrant communities and help reduce crime.

The Trump administration has repeatedly attacked cities with such regulations in place, falsely stating that they increase crime despite data showing less crime in sanctuary cities.

Trump's consideration of tying critical coronavirus aid to sanctuary city policies is just the latest way he and his administration have used the pandemic to attack immigrants.

In March, Trump used the growing crisis to push his pet wall between the United States and Mexico. "We need the Wall more than ever!" he tweeted, even though Mexico only had seven confirmed coronavirus cases at the time and the United States had more than 200.

Later in March, the Trump administration used the pandemic as an excuse to bar asylum-seekers from entering the United States. In April, Trump went further, signing an executive order barring all immigrants seeking permanent residency from coming into the country.

This month, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos issued guidance forbidding colleges and universities from using federal funds to assist undocumented students, including those covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, despite the fact that there are no provisions in the coronavirus relief law allocating the funds that prohibit such aid.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.