Ten days into the increasingly Orwellian reality of Trump’s America and yet one thing remains unwavering: the power belongs to the people. And the people, numbers-wise at least, belong to the cities.
Widespread protest has encompassed cities across the nation since Donald J. Trump took office on January 20th, and that momentum doesn’t appear to be easing up anytime soon.
Cities can be bulwarks of resistance – but only if citizens apply and maintain pressure. One way municipalities have worked to fortify that is by declaring to be a sanctuary city. More than 350 jurisdictions across the country have enacted policies prohibiting local officials from asking people about their immigration status, cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or permitting municipal funds or resources to be applied in furtherance of enforcement of federal immigrations laws. In sanctuary cities such as New York, Boston, Seattle, Oakland, and Denver, mayors have pledged to fight to maintain these policies, despite the threats promised in the executive order Trump signed on January 25th, which would cut all federal funding to these jurisdictions.
As Arun Gupta detailed in Yes Magazine, the sanctuary city title is only as strong as the efforts of the people who enforce it. Cities must become “powerful bastions of noncooperation, resistance, and protection.” To that end, activists and organizations can start demanding in every city that city councils and mayors issue resolutions and statements saying:
- Our city will not assist or cooperate with any raids or detentions or deportations of any immigrants. This includes the assistance of local law enforcement or providing data to the federal government. Already, multiple mayors have pledged their cities to remain sanctuaries even if Trump cuts off federal funds as he has vowed to do, including Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.
- Our city will not cooperate or assist with registration and surveillance programs of Muslims, or any attempts to make our friends, neighbors, and loved ones the enemy.
- Our city is a safe zone for all immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ people, women, and anyone fearing persecution from the Trump administration.
- Our cities reject any effort to criminalize or attack Black Lives Matter or other organizing for social justice, as Trump has suggested he might do.
If you already live in a sanctuary city, demand your Mayor’s office and city council expand the program and promise to defy the actions of the Trump administration. If you don’t live in a sanctuary city, there’s no time like the present to learn more and organize how to become one.
Most importantly, you don’t need a green light from an elected official to declare your community a sanctuary. Open your home, church, or community center to immigrants and refugees. Take a Know Your Rights workshop from your local legal clinic and share the information with a friend; have that friend share the information with another friend. Connect with your neighbors and set agreements around not cooperating with ICE if they come knocking on your doors. Create contingency plans for when they do.
ACTION OF THE DAY
- Call your Mayor and demand they stop cooperating with ICE. Demand they enforce a local act, ordinance, policy, or place fiscal constraints/limits on their assistance to federal immigration authorities seeking to apprehend and remove undocumented people. If they already have one, pressure them to expand the program to protect the safety and livelihoods of ALL their residents.
- Able to commit beyond #FiveMinutes? Start a conversation with your neighbors, congregation, or book group about what you can do as a community to support migrants and refugees. Pledge to support or sponsor a local refugee family and discuss safety and contingency plans for resisting federal immigration authorities seeking to apprehend and remove immigrants and refugees.
Thanks to guest contributor Selma for sharing her knowledge about sanctuary cities!
Do you have an idea for an Action of the Day or a blog post? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
And for more on sanctuary cities, including why they’re actually safer for their communities, check this out.
Picture by Jeff Chiu/AP