Mayor Bill de Blasio stands up for immigrants

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn on Nov. 6, 2016.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn on Nov. 6, 2016. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer

Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for more protest and “disruption that’s caused peacefully” in response to Donald Trump’s presidency, an unusual and welcome plea from an elected official.

Along with mayors around the country, de Blasio is already doing some admirable disruption of his own, especially in defense of immigrants and other minority groups that will likely be under attack during Trump’s presidency.

De Blasio says NYC will not ramp up “stop and frisk,” which was used in large part to harass black and Latino men, and which candidate de Blasio campaigned against. Equally significant, the mayor has said he will consider destroying the city’s IDNYC database if Trump tries to deport NYC’s 500,000 immigrants who are in the country illegally.

The IDNYC identification card helps many immigrants find employment, enter office buildings and generally function in everyday life despite their illegal status. However, many have feared that its database could be used by the federal government to deport them. De Blasio’s announcement should help to allay such fears.

Writing in Yes magazine, independent journalist Arun Gupta argues that cities can become “bulwarks of resistance” to Trump’s racist and far-right agenda. This is exactly what needs to happen.

De Blasio is not the only urban official standing up to Trump. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has said that Seattle will remain a sanctuary city — one that does not cooperate with federal immigration raids — even if the Trump administration follows through on threats to punish such resistance by withholding federal funds.

In Oregon, Portland Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler made the same promise last week. Similarly, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said his city would not cooperate with federal efforts to deport immigrants.

The election showed, as it always does, a deep political divide between cities and less densely populated areas. Many of us in cities didn’t vote for Trump, and don’t support his agenda. We should support their resistance and make sure they keep it up.

Liza Featherstone lives and writes in Clinton Hill.