BOSTON (CBS) – The debate over so-called sanctuary cities is heating up in Massachusetts. Several cities including Boston, Cambridge and Somerville do not fully cooperate with immigration officials. And with Donald Trump’s promise to deport undocumented immigrants, defying the soon to be president could be costly.
“What we’re going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country,” said President-Elect Trump on 60 Minutes giving details of his first steps.
Trump also vows to move against sanctuary cities financially, places where authorities will not detain undocumented people for the immigration service without criminal warrants. “We will cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities,” Trump threatens.
His hardline stance is causing some sanctuary cities to push back and reaffirm their status. “Boston is a sanctuary city,” says Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson.
He’s worried that undocumented residents will be afraid to go to the police for help, or even send their kids to school. “The police department, if you call them and you need help they will help you, and they will not turn you in to the Feds,” Jackson says.
Mayor Walsh appears to be staying the course as well, saying in a statement: “We are a welcoming city for all. These are Boston values and no policy will change them.”
Not everyone agrees. “It’s no secret that these criminal illegal aliens and terrorists are looking for places to go where they are least likely to be caught,” says Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson.
He says sanctuary cities are breaking federal law. “What’s really troubling about this is that any elected official in this country would suggest that there should be a certain class of people who do not have to abide by our laws,” Hodgson says.
And that’s the crux of the debate, one that is destined to grow as the new president, with a new agenda takes office.