The Democratic Mayor of New York Bill de Blasio has warned Donald Trump he will work to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Speaking after a private meeting with the president-elect, De Blasio, who has clashed with Trump in the past, said the promised crack down on immigrants had frightened many in a city celebrated for its diversity.
New York historically has been a city filled with immigrants. According to census data, 37 percent of its 8.6 million residents are foreign-born, far above the national figure of 13 percent.
“Part of why I think it’s so important to remind the president-elect and his team that there are deep fears and concerns out there, is because the wrong messages can encourage hateful acts. So I certainly made clear that I think sending a message of unity is crucial,” De Blasio told reporters outside New York’s Trump Tower.
I told the President-elect something a lot of people don’t know, and that is that there are 900 Muslim members of the NYPD protecting us all— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) November 16, 2016
The mayor declined to say what the president-elect’s response had been.
One of Donald Trump’s rallying calls – which appears to have been popular with his supporters – was for the deportation of the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the US illegally. Since his election victory he has said his priority is to remove up to three million who have criminal records.
In the wake of Trump’s November 8 election victory, De Blasio has said New York will delete from its data base by year-end the names of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who have received a city ID card, so they cannot be identified or deported by the incoming administration.
Like De Blasio, the mayors of other major US cities with high numbers of immigrants have vowed to protect them from deportation, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and the US capital Washington DC.
Students in New York later added their protests, taking to the city streets with placards vowing to make their university a sanctuary for those among them who are undocumented.