Mayor Walsh Pledges Not to ‘Compromise Our Values’ Under Trump

He will try to work with the president-elect but won't budge on immigration, he says.

Photo via Mayor's Office/Don Harney

Photo via Mayor’s Office/Don Harney

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says he will try to cooperate with the incoming administration of Donald Trump and give him “a chance to lead,” but pledged not to “compromise our values as a city” in the process.

In a wide-ranging post on Medium, Walsh laid out the areas where his deep blue city is not willing to budge: among them efforts to welcome and aid new immigrants. Trump has promised to round up and deport millions of immigrants around the country.

“We will not stop being a city that values and respects immigrants, both documented and undocumented,” Walsh wrote. “Our Office for Immigrant Advancement will continue to nurture and support the foreign-born in Boston, with everything from citizenship classes to cultural celebrations to free legal advice. Boston was here for my parents when they came here. We will always be a city that welcomes newcomers.”

Whether Trump, who has a well-documented tendency to seek revenge on those who cross him, will lash out at Boston and other cities where politicians are hostile to him, remains to be seen. But it’s clear the two don’t get along.

Other city officials, among them Councilor Tito Jackson, have said they would support challenging Trump’s immigration agenda directly by proposing that the city strengthen its protections for undocumented residents and embrace “sanctuary city” status. Walsh has not endorsed that idea specifically. But, as he told the Herald yesterday, police in Boston already do not hold people without documentation for deportation except in cases where suspects have warrants from federal immigration officials. Boston codified that policy via passage of the Trust Act in 2014.

Existing “sanctuary cities,” in which police commit to never inquiring about a person’s immigration status, already are at risk of losing federal funding under the Trump administration. Trump has threatened to cut funding to those cities, which include Somerville, Cambridge, and Springfield. Police around the state, though, are saying they will defy Trump if he pushes them to step up immigration enforcement and put them at odds with their communities.

In his letter, Walsh also reiterated some of his administration’s agenda as it relates to pay equity for women, LGBT protections, and racial disparity. He also plugged the city’s plans to host a town hall discussion on race on Saturday at the Cutler Majestic Theatre.

“We will defend our friends, neighbors, and family members from any and all efforts to exclude them, harm them, or strip them of their rights,” he wrote. “Boston is a city of inclusion, a city of compassion, a welcoming, diverse, global city. We’ll stay that way.”