MN officials vow to stand by immigrants despite Trump's executive orders

His order targets sanctuary cities like Minneapolis.
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President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that targets sanctuary cities like Minneapolis.

Trump's signature on the order follows through on some of the promises he made during the campaign to crack down on immigration. The order would take away federal funding for cities that don't arrest or detain illegal immigrants and don't cooperate with federal immigration officials. Minneapolis is one of those cities that has defied such federal immigration orders.

“We're going to strip federal grant money from the sanctuary states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants. The American people are no longer going to have to be forced to subsidize this disregard for our laws," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at the daily press briefing Wednesday, according to The Atlantic.

There are more than 300 communities that consider themselves sanctuary cities for the roughly 11 million immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally, USA Today reports. And if that federal funding gets cut, it could cost cities millions of dollars that they'd need to find elsewhere, The Associated Press said.

Wednesday's executive order also kickstarts the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. And later this week, the AP says Trump is expected to sign orders that'll restrict refugees coming to the U.S., especially those from Muslim-majority countries like Somalia. (Minnesota has one of the largest Somalian populations in the country.)

Reaction from Minnesota

But regardless of the president's orders, local officials, state lawmakers and community members said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon they'll stand by immigrants and refugees, and attacks on them won't be tolerated.

"We fear what we don't take the time to understand," Rep. Rod Hamilton, a Republican, said at the news conference, noting they are here to bring people together and their doors are always open.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, who spoke at the news conference, also commented on Trump's executive orders in a Facebook post, saying she's asked the city attorney and city coordinator to "review the possibilities and make recommendations for response" if federal funds get cut.

“In Minneapolis, one of the common-sense ways that we welcome all communities and work to keep them safe is by separating local police work from that of federal immigration authorities. This is how we encourage anyone who has been the victim of or witness to a crime to come forward, which keeps everyone in every neighborhood safer. We will continue to aggressively defend this common-sense practice to ensure that Minneapolis remains safe and welcoming for everyone," Minneapolis city officials said in a statement.

"President Trump’s executive actions regarding refugees and immigrants, as well as sanctuary cities like St. Paul and Minneapolis, is a cruel and callous attack on at-risk and vulnerable people. They shamefully betray our values as Minnesotans and Americans," U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum said in a statement.

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith also released a statement on the president's order, saying she stands in "opposition to those who seek to divide us by attacking refugees and immigrant Minnesotans."

"Minnesota communities and our economy are strong because of our history of welcoming immigrants from every continent, nation, and culture. We will keep on working to enhance understanding, expand opportunity and protect human rights for all of us. In doing so, we make Minnesota even stronger," she added.

Schools and churches have also mulled sanctuary status in the wake of Trump's election. And on Tuesday night, the St. Paul Public School Board passed a resolution stating it will provide a safe environment and educate all children, regardless of their immigration status.

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