President Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to “end” so-called sanctuary cities—jurisdictions that refuse to make their local police enforce immigration law.
“This has to end,” he told a crowd in Houston in September, after talking about San Francisco’s refusal to share information with federal immigration agents. “It will end if I become president, I promise you it will end.”
On his fifth day in office, he signed an executive order to strip such cities and counties of their federal funding.
The threats appear to be backfiring. Since Trump’s election in November, nearly a dozen cities and counties — from progressive California to deep-red Alabama — have voted to adopt sanctuary city policies. Several more cities and an entire state are considering the move. Some cities that have long held sanctuary status are taking Trump to court, while others are creating legal defense funds and taking other measures to protect undocumented residents.
“We are not going to work with [Trump]. We’re not going to make it easy on him.”
“When we saw that visitors to our community and our nation were under attack by this unjust position and order that the president has made, we wanted people to know that he does not speak for us,” said Jonathan Austin, the president of the Birmingham City Council, which voted unanimously this week to become a sanctuary city. “We need to be a city that’s welcoming and a sanctuary to everyone, regardless of who they are.”