Less than one week into his presidency, Donald Trump is already moving on his bigoted, anti-immigrant agenda, including going on the attack against "sanctuary cities." But mayors across the country are resolute: They will defend their cities, and their most vulnerable residents, from the new administration's aggressive demagoguery.
Donald Trump wasted little time getting around to the nationalist anti-immigration agenda that was a pillar of his campaign rhetoric. Less than a week after his inauguration, he issued executive orders, accompanied by a speech filled with his typical bluster and fearmongering, on building a wall along the Mexican border, and on "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States" — a direct and Orwellian attack on "sanctuary cities," jurisdictions which offer safe harbor to undocumented immigrants as protection from federal immigration laws.
But as MSNBC's Rachel Maddow reported, many mayors of sanctuary cities across the nation are speaking out against Trump's order, and making it clear that they intend to remain on the side of their vulnerable constituents.
MADDOW: Today, a significant number of the nation's mayors stood up and said "no" to the new president. More than no, actually, it was more like, "Hey, Mr. President, no way, no how, you can forget it."
MAYOR ED MURRAY: Today, January 25, 2017, is the darkest day in immigration history in America since the internment of the Japanese Americans during the Second World War. Mr. President, I have a message for you: Seattle has been here before. We've experienced this dark history before. And we have no intention of going back there again.
MAYOR ED LEE: I believe in our sanctuary city status. I think there are hundreds of mayors all over this country that are saying the same thing. And we stand united that a safer city is a city that doesn't allow its residents to live in fear.
MAYOR MARTY WALSH: We will not be intimidated by the threat to federal funding. We have each other's backs, and we have the Constitution of the United States of America on our side. I want to say directly to anyone who feels threatened today or vulnerable: You are safe in Boston. We will do everything lawful in our power to protect you. If necessary, we'll use City Hall itself to shelter and protect anyone who's targeted unjustly.
MADDOW: The mayors of Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, today — and it wasn't just them. Mayors also from New York City, Los Angeles, Philly, Chicago, Portland, Oregon, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Washington, D.C. — all these big city mayors, representing tens of millions of Americans. They made defiant public pronouncement today in response to the latest executive order from the new president. That executive order threatens to cut off federal funding to cities if these cities don't do what the Trump administration tells them to do to immigrants in those cities. The mayors responded today by basically saying, "Yeah, make my day."
The president's executive order runs contrary to our values, but the stroke of a pen does not change the people of New York City.
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 25, 2017
— MurielBowser (@MurielBowser) January 26, 2017
The point I planned to make was this: We have embraced diversity and immigration for 400 years. Our values will not change.
— Javier Gonzales (@javiermgonzales) January 25, 2017
— Mayor Eric Garcetti (@MayorOfLA) January 25, 2017
In the tumultuous and troubling reality we are now witnessing unfold further each day of the Trump era, it is heartening to know that many people in positions of power are wielding it not to demagogue and wreak havoc on people's lives and on the country. Rather, these mayors are using the power bestowed on them by the people to support and protect those who need it the most.
They are telling their undocumented constituents that they see them as equal citizens, and as equally worthy of the promises of America as anyone who was born within its borders.