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New Haven Mayor Skips Trump Meeting In Solidarity With Sanctuary Cities

Jessica Hill
Then-State Sen. Toni Harp, D-New Haven, listens as State Sen. Len Suzio, R-Meriden, speaks in Senate Chambers during the last day of session at the Capitol in Hartford, Conn., in 2011. Harp is now the mayor of the City of New Haven.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp is in Washington, D.C., for the U.S. Conference of Mayors this week, but she did not attend a meeting with President Donald Trump that was on the agenda.

Harp made the decision in a show of solidarity with other mayors of so-called sanctuary cities who decided not to go. Those 23 communities, including New York City, made the decision after receiving letters from the Department of Justice saying they weren’t complying with federal immigration law. The letters also threatened the cities’ eligibility to receive federal grants for public safety. No communities in Connecticut received a letter.

A White House transcript of the meeting said that Trump called Harp out by name to congratulate her for her hard work on transportation. When she didn’t respond, he said she might be a “sanctuary city person.” Then he criticized the mayors of other cities like New York and New Orleans who also skipped the meeting. 

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.