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Mayor cancels Trump meeting amid immigration battle

de Blasio called the infrastructure meeting "a charade" after the DOJ sent warning letters to sanctuary cities about immigrants in police custody.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio did not attend at meeting with President Trump and more than 100 mayors after the DOJ sent warning letters to sanctuary cities Wednesday.
Mayor de Blasio called the infrastructure meeting with President Trump ‘a charade’ after the DOJ sent warning letters to sanctuary cities about immigrants in police custody. (Flickr/NYC Mayor’s Office/Benjamin Kanter)

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio canceled his White House meeting with President Trump Wednesday in the wake of new federal demands regarding sanctuary cities, of which New York is one.

De Blasio was slated to attend a meeting between Trump and more than 100 mayors from across the country to discuss infrastructure, the opioid epidemic and other topics.

The mayor backed out of the meeting after the Department of Justice sent letters to nearly two dozen sanctuary cities earlier in the day demanding they provide documentation that their law enforcement is sharing information with federal immigration agents about the immigration status of people in custody. The DOJ threatened to withhold grants if such proof is not turned over.

The mayor tweeted that he was no longer attending the White House meeting after Trump’s “Department of Justice decided to renew their racist assault on our immigrant communities. It doesn’t make us safer, and it violates America’s core values.”

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Other mayors, such as Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans, also skipped the meeting with Trump.

At a later press conference, de Blasio said he felt the timing of the DOJ letter and the mayor’s meeting “was a charade” and that he came to Washington to “have a serious meeting. And what I got was a publicity stunt from the Trump administration. And this just proves, once again, that they’re not trying to work with American cities.

“Here’s what he did to a group of mayors. He said, ‘Come over to my house, but I’m going to take your wallet while you’re there,” he added.

Trump said the mayors who boycotted the meeting “put the needs of criminal illegal immigrants over law-abiding Americans.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration “would love to be able to work with these mayors, particularly on issues like infrastructure and other things, but we cannot allow people to pick and choose what laws they want to follow.”

De Blasio later tweeted facts Trump “should know about his hometown,” which included that 55 percent of its business owners are immigrants, that foreign-born workers account for 45 percent of the city’s labor force, that 34 percent of tech workers in 2016 were immigrants and that 58 percent of city kids have immigrant parents.