Phoenix Mayor Says Local Police Won't Be Part Of A Donald Trump Mass Deportation Plan
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said he will not allow Phoenix police to become immigration enforcement officers if that winds up being part of President-Elect Donald Trump’s plan. Stanton said he will stick to that position “even if the new government in Washington, D.C., threatens to revoke federal dollars.”
Little is known about what President-elect Donald Trump will actually do on immigration. He told "60 Minutes" he plans to immediately deport 2-3 million unauthorized immigrants with criminal records. It’s also part of his platform to punish so-called Sanctuary Cities by taking away their federal funds.
This week, mayors of these cities, including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, have said they won’t cooperate with Trump’s possible mass deportation plans.
Phoenix isn’t a Sanctuary City, but Stanton is also drawing a line.
“If President Trump is going to try to turn local police officers into immigration officers, to implement his mass deportation policies, that is not something that Phoenix Police Department is going to participate in,” Stanton told KJZZ.
Stanton said he approves of current protocols in use in Phoenix. When non-citizens are arrested and face criminal charges, they are screened at the jail by federal agents for possible deportation proceedings after the conclusion of their criminal cases.
According to a settlement reached this fall over how Arizona’s immigration law SB 1070 can be enforced, police officers in the state can inquire about someone’s immigration status when making a stop but they cannot arrest someone solely for being in the country illegally, since violating federal immigration law is a civil violation rather than a criminal offense.
Stanton said if the Trump administration tried to tie federal grants to certain policies to get local police to identify and deport unauthorized immigrants, Phoenix would refuse to participate.
“I can tell you that we are not going to act in a way that threatens people's’ civil rights just to chase some federal dollars, that would be inappropriate,” Stanton said.
Mayor Stanton’s Full Statement
"Phoenix is an incredibly diverse and welcoming city where we endeavor every day to protect our community while treating residents with dignity and respect, no matter who you are, who you love or where you come from.
Our diversity is our greatest strength as a community, and our strongest selling point as an economy. It says much about who we are as a people that Phoenix is considered one of the safest and most welcoming cities in the United States for those seeking refuge from the violence of war-torn countries.
That will not change, regardless of who is president.
Residents and visitors can be assured we will professionally and steadfastly uphold the laws of our city. But that does not mean that Phoenix will fall victim to discourse that is openly antagonistic and hostile to members of our community. The Phoenix Police Department will never turn into a mass deportation force, even if the new government in Washington, D.C., threatens to revoke federal dollars. This is something worth fighting for, and we will not be bullied into taking backward steps on civil rights."