As the Trump administration pours on the pressure to so-called sanctuary cities, the president himself called out New Haven's mayor for declining an invitation to a White House meeting.
President Donald Trump listed Mayor Toni Harp's name among others whom he wanted to recognize for being hard working.
"We have some hardworking people in this room," Trump said. "Toni Harp. Where's Toni? Uh oh. Can't be a sanctuary city person. That's not possible. Is it?"
It was my great honor to welcome Mayor’s from across America to the WH. My Administration will always support local government - and listen to the leaders who know their communities best. Together, we will usher in a bold new era of Peace and Prosperity! https://t.co/dmYECTnk0a pic.twitter.com/RSv7V7r0DT— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2018
However, Harp said she was among several mayors who boycotted the meeting over Trump's crackdown on sanctuary cities.
Trump went on to announce a "critical legal step" from the Justice Department in holding sanctuary cities accountable for defying orders from his administration.
Federal officials said they sent letters to roughly two dozen jurisdictions that threatened to issue subpoenas if they don't give up documents that show they are not withholding information about the immigration status of people in custody.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said sanctuary city policies are to blame for crime and gang violence.
Though New Haven was not one of the threatened cities, Harp joined mayors like New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock in declining the invitation.
They believe the Trump administration is overstepping its authority.
"Unlike this president, she is a brilliant and a thoughtful leader who stands for the values that make Connecticut strong," said Gov. Dannel Malloy.
Mayor Harp is in Washington D.C. for a national conference of mayors but chose not to go to the White House after learning what the president was going to say about so-called sanctuary cities. she's not talking about Trump's comments, but Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin responded saying "The Trump administration has been trying to bully cities like Hartford and New Haven for many months now, but as we have said from the start, I think the law is on our side."
Local Republicans denounced Harp's decision.
"I want to know what Mayor Harp would say to the families of the two murder officers by an illegal immigrant. Or the four raped women by an Uber driver who was here illegally," said J.R. Romano, chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party.
As for the letters being sent to 23 sanctuary cities, Hartford has not received that letter.
The president had said months ago that grant money from the justice department would be withheld from states with so-called sanctuary cities, but that has not happened in Connecticut, or any other state.
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