LISTEN: Cambridge City Councilor On Trump Order To End Federal Funding Of "Sanctuary Cities"

January 25, 2017

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order aimed at slashing federal funding for so-called "sanctuary cities."
 
There are several such cities in Massachusetts, including Boston, Somerville, Cambridge and Chelsea.
 
Local leaders, including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, are denouncing Trump's order and saying they will do what they can to protect their residents - regardless of their immigration status.
 
Cambridge was one of the first sanctuary cities, adopting the status back in 1985. Cambridge City Councilor Marc McGovern spoke with WGBH All Things Considered host Barbara Howard about how Trump's order could affect his city.
 

Interview Highlights

On why Cambridge opposes working with federal immigration authorities

"There are certain responsibilities that the federal government has, and then there's certain responsibilities that local law enforcement has. Our view, and the view of our police commissioner, is that it is not the job of local law enforcement to track down people who might be illegal immigrants. If someone is arrested for a crime, and it turns out that they are an illegal immigrant, then the federal government is notified of that. But the Cambridge police do not regularly ask people their immigration status and don't make it their duty to go out and find people."

On why Cambridge will remain a sanctuary city

"It's very important that we are a welcoming community to all people. and I think in this time in particularly under this administration it is going to be more important than ever that local municipalities stand up and protect particularly minority groups because as we can tell from this administration - just even in its first few days - that certain groups of people are going to be under attack by this administration."

On how Cambridge could be affected if federal funding is discontinued

"One of the first things I did after President Trump was elected was to not only reaffirm our commitment in Cambridge to being a sanctuary city, but also to ask our city manager to start preparing to fund programs that may be cut should the president follow through with this action. We get about 14 million in federal funding and that goes to everything from helping to pay for school lunches, to money that goes towards homelessness, that goes towards housing. It would affect a variety of programs." 


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