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Mayor Says Hartford To Remain A ‘Sanctuary City’

Jessica Hill
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin listens to Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget address at the State Capitol in Hartford in February.

So-called “sanctuary cities” across the country are telling President-elect Donald Trump that they will not let local police act like federal immigration enforcers, even if he threatens to pull their funding. WSHU’s Cassandra Basler spoke with Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, who says his city will remain a sanctuary city. 

Below is a transcript of their conversation.

BRONIN: Hartford is a city where we are not gonna use our local police force as a frontline immigration enforcement agency. And so, our police force is not going to ask a crime victim or a witness of crime about their immigration status. And we’re not going to detain people solely based on their immigration status. That’s not the role or responsibility of local law enforcement. And it’s not the way to keep a community strong or safe.

BASLER: With the idea that a sanctuary city or sanctuary cities across the U.S. might have their federal funding pulled, what do you have to say about that?

BRONIN: Well first of all, who knows what he even considers a sanctuary city to be. What I can say is that we are going to remain committed to the principle that our police force’s job is to keep our residents safe. And that’s best done not by pushing people into the shadows, but by encouraging them to have strong healthy relationships with their local law enforcement agencies.

BASLER: All cities across Connecticut are facing funding issues. How would Hartford be affected?

BRONIN: Well, like a lot of cities around Connecticut, especially our big cities, we do receive a lot of funding, including in the areas of public safety. For a candidate like Donald Trump, who has talked about the importance of making urban centers safer, it would be amazing to me if he went about that by pulling funding from the cities that need it most. But who knows again what Donald Trump will do. What we’re gonna do is stay true to responsible, smart, the right principles that help keep our community strong.

BASLER: And Mayor Toni Harp in New Haven has said that she is putting city lawyers on task to potentially challenge a federal initiative from Trump if he were to say he was pulling funding from sanctuary cities. Is Hartford considering anything like that?

BRONIN: No, I expect that there is gonna be a long list of cities that are gonna work together on a legal strategy if President Trump actually goes forward with trying to deny much needed federal funds to cities that are simply trying to keep their communities safe. And Hartford would be glad to join that list.

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.