President Donald Trump said in a campaign email Monday that so-called sanctuary cities are “an assault on the rule of law.”
“Where is the sanctuary for the American citizens who have been the victims of criminal acts by illegal immigrants?” the pitch read in part. “Where is the sanctuary for the Americans citizens who haven’t seen their wages rise in years because of massive illegal immigration?”
“You — and millions of Americans like you — voted to finally put the American citizens FIRST,” it continued. “But we can’t do that until we end sanctuary cities that are an assault on the rule of law.”
The “sanctuary city” label could refer to a wide array of local arrangements and laws, including some jurisdictions that refuse to hold arrestees in jail despite requests from federal immigration enforcement officers.
Trump, in his appeal, asked recipients to sign onto a petition against the city of Seattle, which is suing the federal government over Trump’s executive order targeting “sanctuary jurisdictions.” Seattle bars city employees from inquiring about immigration status at all, except in certain law enforcement scenarios.
In February, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told law enforcement officers that “I don’t have a clue” how sanctuary cities or jurisdictions were legally defined.
Though Trump, in the campaign email, wrote that “[s]anctuary cities like Seattle and San Francisco have spent decades breaking our country’s immigration laws — and getting away with it,” localities have broad control over how much they cooperate with the federal government.
Along with its threat to “[e]nsure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law,” which Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently emphasized in a speech, Trump’s executive order announced his intent to name-and-shame “any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers” issued by federal immigration enforcement agents.
On March 21, Immigration and Customs Enforcement released its first weekly “Declined Detainer Outcome Report” on jurisdictions that refused to honor ICE’s requests to hold some arrestees based on immigration status.
The first quarterly report from the new “Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens,” which will list crimes committed by undocumented people, has yet to be released.
Trump filed paperwork for his 2020 re-election campaign with the Federal Election Commission on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20. He has since spoken at multiple large rallies organized by his campaign committee, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
Monday’s email, according to a disclaimer, was paid for by Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a joint fundraising committee made up of the Republican National Committee and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.