President Donald Trump said Tuesday that federal aid to states in any upcoming stimulus bills would likely be tied to them abandoning sanctuary city or state policies.
During a media-question portion of a small business event at the White House, a reporter asked Trump about another round of stimulus checks for taxpayers suffering through the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The president said he preferred payroll tax cuts to the big check distributions now being handed out, then volunteered an answer to an anticipated question on economic aid to states.
Trump said aid isn’t intended to recover “25 years of bad management,” but simply to make up for losses caused by shutdowns imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
He noted, however, “we’d want certain things also, including sanctuary city adjustments.”
Trump issued an executive order in 2017 to cut funding to sanctuary cities, but it was immediately challenged in the federal courts. A federal appeals court ruled the order illegal in 2018, but a federal appellate court in January ruled the action legal.
Though “sanctuary city” isn’t an official designation, many cities, and some states, offer protections to undocumented immigrants and have refused to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who have attempted to make arrests.
Critics of the policy point to instances of deported criminals who have returned to the United States illegally multiple times, often committing crimes, including crimes of violence such as rapes and murder.
Tying sanctuary policies to stimulus funding appears to be the administration’s latest bargaining chip as it looks to make progress on the vexing immigration topic.
Trump said he doesn’t think sanctuary cities are popular, even on the far left. “People are being protected that shouldn’t be protected, and a lot of bad things are happening,” he said.