The mayors and governors using their political sway to stall Trump’s immigration policies
The Trump administration’s immigration policies has inspired resistance not just from laypeople making small donations to organizations like RAICES, but also from those with more political power and sway.
In a recent press conference, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner encouraged state and local governments to stall or deny permits to operate a detention center slated to open in the Houston area. “There comes a time when Americans, when Houstonians, when Texans have to say to those higher than ourselves: This is wrong, this is just wrong.”
Turner already had plans to use the unused shelter in Downtown Houston that the federal government plans to convert into a detention center for a long-term homeless shelter, a plan aimed at “reducing the homeless population and bringing them together,” according to Turner. In fact, Mayor Turner did not find out about the federal government’s plans until local reporters and activists sounded the alarm that Southwest Key Programs was coming in to run the shelter.
Turner plans to drag his feet on opening the shelter, using his relationship with the City of Houston’s Fire Chief who has to approve the building among a host of other city processes before the detention center can be used. Turner has been urging those in charge of those steps not to approve the building.
In Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has signed an executive order that stops the city’s jails from accepting any new detainees from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, or ICE. Like Turner, Bottoms claims she did not want to enable the Trump administration’s actions in a statement reading, “I, like many others, have been horrified watching the impact of President Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy on children and familie… My personal angst has been compounded by the City of Atlanta’s long-standing agreement with the U.S. Marshal’s Office to house ICE detainees in our city jail. But the inhumane action of family separation demands that Atlanta act now.”
Bottoms also reached out to Congress and the Trump administration, asking that they come up with humane and comprehensive measures that will help fix the broken immigration system. Despite ending family separations, Trump’s recent executive order still permits families to be indefinitely detained.
Delaware governor John Carney, Pennslyvania governor Tom Wolf, and New Jersey governor Phil Murphy all have refused to send National Guard troops to the Southern border in Texas. Murphy even signed an executive order prohibiting state resources from being used to separate immigrant families, releasing a statement saying, “Ever since our founding – and even before – our nation has been a beacon for families seeking freedom and yearning for a better life. President Trump has turned this promise on its head by doubling-down on his inhumane and cruel policy of separating families… It has no basis in law or Scripture, no matter how many times the President, the Vice President, or anyone who tries to defend this policy tries to spin it. This is a matter of human rights, human dignity, and basic humanity.”
In addition, the governors of Rhode Island, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and Maryland have all refused to send National Guard troops to Texas to enforce the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border. These governors include both Democrats and Republicans.
Finally, a group of mayors descended upon the small Texas town of Tornillo on June 21 to protest the child separation policy, and the mayors are still assessing exactly what they can do to fight against the immigration policies of the federal government.