Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was campaigning in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Tuesday, promising to crack down on undocumented immigrants and "sanctuary cities" that don't help federal enforcement.
A sanctuary city is a city that has policies designed not to prosecute illegal aliens. Washington, D.C., has an ordinance that bans city employees and police officers from asking people about their immigration status. It also grants social services, drivers' licenses and other benefits to undocumented immigrants.
This metropolitan area has a growing Latino and Hispanic population, although officials said overall immigration numbers have slowed in recent years. At-Large Council member David Grosso has a bill proposing that immigrant permanent residents be allowed to vote.
“The District of Columbia is a sanctuary city in every meaning of the word,” Grosso said. “In fact, we have lots of different areas of the government that we go out of our way to make sure that all residents feel they are part of the full community.”
Trump said as president, he would cut off fund to sanctuary jurisdictions, like D.C.
“Block funding for sanctuary cities. We block the funding. No more funds,” Trump said at a rally in Phoenix, Arizona. “Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars.”
Grosso said Trump fails to understand immigration issues involving families and the U.S. economy.
“The facts of the matter are everyone deserves to be treated like a human being,” Grosso said.
The conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform, in business since 1979, said Trump has it right.
“States don't get to pick and choose which laws they wish to help the federal government enforce,” said FAIR President Dan Stein. “Communities across America are thumbing their nose at both the federal government and the United States voters and taxpayers.”
Arlington, Virginia, is not a sanctuary jurisdiction. It said in a statement that it enforces all laws and requires the federal government to carry the burden of immigration enforcement.
"It is, and has always been, Arlington County’s policy to comply with requests from all other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies including detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Arlington has never used the term 'sanctuary city' to describe our policies. Arlington County believes it is important and possible to enforce our nation’s laws while also fulfilling our vision as a community that welcomes and values all of its residents, treating them with human dignity and respect, regardless of immigration status."