Friday, April 12, 2024

Trump suggests states may need to make “sanctuary-city adjustments” to receive coronavirus funding

Yesterday President Trump suggested that federal assistance to states financially impacted by the coronavirus outbreak could be tied to whether so-called sanctuary cities make adjustments to their immigration policies.

The comments from Trump came as both Republican and Democratic governors plead for more funding for their states, warning that budget shortfalls could lead to pay cuts for public sector employees such as teachers and police officers. At a White House news conference, Trump said he is hesitant about granting federal aid to states because he doesn’t want money going to local governments that he considers to have been run poorly.

“We’re not looking to recover 25 years of bad management and give them the money that they lost. That’s unfair to other states,” Trump said, adding that he was open to discussions about financial assistance only if it was related to the coronavirus. “But we’d want certain things also, including sanctuary-city adjustments,” he continued. “People are being protected that shouldn’t be protected. And a lot of bad things are happening with sanctuary cities… If we’re going to do something for the states, I think we probably want something having to do with sanctuary cities.”

Sanctuary cities generally refuse to cooperate with the federal government’s enforcement of immigration laws and Trump has repeatedly denounced the cities. “We cannot allow the Trump administration to exploit a public health crisis to further their anti-immigrant agenda,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a tweet following the president’s latest comments.

Democratic lawmakers and governors are aggressively pushing for Congress to include some form of assistance to states in the next coronavirus relief bill. Congress allocated $150 billion to states in the $2.2 trillion stimulus package signed into law last month, but state leaders say that it’s not nearly enough to address their budget deficits.