There's a showdown brewing between President Donald Trump and so-called "sanctuary cities" -- municipalities across the country that refuse to deport illegal immigrants for minor infractions -- even marijuana possession. That's the case in New York at least, where Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged not to kick undocumented residents out of the country even if they're caught with pot.
The mayor defended his position last month during an interview with Jake Tapper of CNN. "Let's say someone has a small amount of marijuana. Let's say someone went through a stop sign. They could be deported [in other cities] for that, and their family could be torn apart. And they could have children left behind where the breadwinner in the family is sent back to a home country."
Good riddance, an ardent Trump supporter would likely say. And they might seem to have a point since these people aren't supposed to be in the country in the first place. But De Blasio argues that cracking down on illegal immigrants is actually more harmful to society than allowing them to stay.
"Think about this," Di Blasio added. "If eleven or twelve million Americans [the estimated number of illegal immigrants in the country] -- if they start feeling like they cannot talk to a police officer, cannot say if they've been the victim of a crime, cannot go to a police officer to tell them they witnessed a crime, can't talk to people at a public hospital or school [because of] fear of deportation -- that's going to be corrosive to communities across the country. That's actually going to make us less safe day to day in our communities."
And he isn't arguing in favor of turning a blind eye to all crimes committed by illegal immigrants. His administration has drafted a list of 170 serious offences that are grounds for the city to work with the feds to deport undocumented residents. And he hopes other cities adopt that stance in defiance of Trump, who has threatened to strip "sanctuary cities" of federal funding unless they get onside with his immigration policy.
Ironically, those funds could involve money given to New York to combat terrorism. So Trump's immigration policy is arguably bad for society and his methods of forcing cities to comply could be even worse.
For more on the showdown between the feds and the sanctuary cities, check out Samantha Bee's report from the latest instalment of Full Frontal.
Banner image: De Blasio speaking at his January 2010 inauguration as New York City Public Advocate. (wikipedia.org)