Washington, D.C.’s delegate to Congress told a group of protesters Thursday the nation’s capital is “proud to be a sanctuary city.”
“We are proud to stand with our immigrants, documented and undocumented alike,” Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said. “Donald Trump has worked up Republicans around the nation into an anti-immigrant frenzy that the Republican House has been eager to take up.”
Thursday protesters gathered in front of City Hall in D.C. to voice opposition to two immigration bills currently being debated in Congress; one, that has already passed the House, would strip sanctuary cities of certain federal funds and another would fine D.C. officials who fail to report illegal immigrants to federal agents.
“We will not allow Republicans to reach undemocratically into our city to deport our hard-working Latino and other immigrants, who contribute so much to our city,” Norton told the protesters.
The D.C. bill would require agents of the district government to report anyone arrested by city police who is in the country illegally to the Department of Homeland Security.
If the person is in the country illegally, DHS would be required to issue a detainer. Once detained, D.C. law enforcement would then be required to hold an immigrant in custody for up to 48 hours.
Earlier last week, the House voted to strip sanctuary cities of federal funds because Republicans said the policies of these cities led to the death Kate Steinle, 32, at the hands of an illegal immigrant who had multiple felonies and deportations.
Norton then turned her sights on Donald Trump, who has made headlines recently for comments he made calling some illegal immigrants “rapists” and “killers.” Trump is in the process of renovating the old U.S. Post Office Building, which is a few blocks away from the White House, into a luxury hotel.
“Trump may be in possession of the Old Post Office under a binding contract with the federal government,” Norton said. “Today, however, we serve notice that neither the national anti-immigrant bill passed by the House or the D.C. bill that penalizes D.C. because we are a sanctuary city will pass both Houses of Congress and become law.”
Currently, D.C. is one of around 30 cities in the country that forbid local police officers from working with federal agents to determine the legal status of people they arrest.
Earlier this month, D.C. city council introduced new legislation that would give non-citizens the right to vote in local elections and the city is one of just 10 localities that allow illegal immigrants to obtain drivers licenses.