President Trump is ramping up his threats against Democrats and progressives, tweeting repeatedly over this past weekend that he plans to send detained immigrants to sanctuary cities like Chicago and New York, and to sanctuary states like California. This is a childish attempt at retaliation against his perceived political opponents — leaders and constituents who have declared their intent for their communities to be safe havens for immigrants who are tirelessly hunted down by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
While Trump may see this as some sort of punishment to Democrats, instead he is reinforcing the divide that his politics represent, and prompting our communities to step up and demand more. Leaders in 27 states across the country have rebuffed the president’s racist and xenophobic agenda, resisting this administration’s attempts to persecute migrants, asylum seekers and the Latinx community. It isn’t just the blue states that reject his cruel vision. Sanctuary sites can be found in red states that voted for Trump in 2016, including 14 counties in Iowa, 18 counties and cities in Pennsylvania, and six counties in North Carolina.
It is time to defend the right of these jurisdictions to act in solidarity with immigrants, and to demand a full realization — and expansion — of sanctuary. We have now borne witness to the cruelty of immigration enforcement under Trump, and conditions are more than likely to worsen, as they just did with Attorney General William Barr’s announcement on Tuesday that asylum seekers can be detained indefinitely instead of being released on bond. Now is the time to push sanctuary cities and counties again to be proactive and enact policies that eliminate the threat of ICE persecution from our cities and be the sanctuary that our communities need right now.
Simply refusing to comply with federal immigration investigations is far from sufficient to…