Boston, Somerville Mayors Defiant After Trump’s Sanctuary City Orders

Marty Walsh and Joe Curtatone say they won't back down amid threats of federal funding cuts.

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Photo via City of Boston

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Somerville Mayor Joe Curatone took a stand against Donald Trump Wednesday after the president announced a blockbuster executive order to target so-called “sanctuary cities” with cuts to federal funding.

A defiant Mayor Marty Walsh, in no uncertain terms, refused to back down in a press conference at City Hall, and called the executive actions a “direct attack on Boston’s people.”

“We will continue to foster trusting relationships between law enforcement and the immigrant community, and we will not waste vital police resources on misguided federal actions. We will not be intimidated by the threat to federal funding,” Walsh said, surrounded by aides, City Councilors, and state politicians. “We have each other’s backs, and we have the Constitution of the United States of America on our side.”

He wasn’t sure which programs might have funding slashed, he said. But regardless of what’s affected, Walsh said that federal money with “strings attached” was “not worth taking.”

He also offered a message of support for immigrants living in the city, promising to “do everything lawful in our power to protect you. If necessary we’ll use City Hall itself to shelter and protect anyone who is targeted unjustly.”

Walsh directed anyone with concerns to seek the help of the city’s Office of Immigrant Advancement, or to call 311. And if worst comes to worse, he said he wasn’t kidding about letting immigrants live inside City Hall. “They can use my office,” he said. “They can use any office in this building.”

Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, who appears to have made antagonizing the Trump administration on immigration a priority, had similarly tough talk for the White House, calling the executive orders “reckless” and vowing not to comply with them.

“If cities have to make a stand for basic human decency, let me be clear that we’re going to make that stand,” he said, adding, “We’re prepared to tighten our belts. What we’re not going to do is react to a Damocles of money hanging over our heads to abandon our democratic, human principles of civility. We’re not going to run away from our fellow man for a bucket of money.”

It remains to be seen whether the threatened cuts might include grant money for the proposed extension of the MBTA’s Green Line through Somerville and Medford, which hinges on $1 billion in federal funding.