As Donald Trump prepares to enter the White House, Democratic senators, representatives, and governors are choosing between a grit-your-teeth/wait-and-see tack and a plan-the-resistance approach. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is definitely in the latter camp. De Blasio has outlined a number of concrete actions he plans to pursue in order to make sure that several of Trump's campaign promises don't play out on the streets of his city. Here's how far de Blasio will go to resist Trump.
In a speech at Cooper-Union on Monday, de Blasio promised to take the following actions against the Trump administration's agenda, as reported by POLITICO's Laura Nahmias:
De Blasio said he would sue the Trump administration if it moves ahead with a proposal that would require Muslim immigrants to register before entering the country; vowed to pay for legal services for immigrants facing deportation; promised that New York Police Department officers would not comply with any potential orders to help round up undocumented immigrants; and swore that New York City would make sure women receive health care services, even if a Trump administration cuts federal aid to Planned Parenthood.
Trump has made the deportation of undocumented immigrants a key proposal of his campaign. The "Muslim registry" concern comes from a statement from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who mentioned the possibility of requiring immigrants from countries with active terrorist organizations to register with the government, Reuters reported. Kobach has been reported as a member of Trump's transition team, though according to Reuters, "Trump's transition team did not respond to requests for confirmation of Kobach's role."
De Blasio is not alone in planning to defy Trump's proposals on immigration. Mayors of Seattle, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and San Francisco have also said they will protect the immigrants within their cities, as The Hill's Reid Wilson reported. Wilson also noted "Cities and states have no legal obligation to enforce federal immigration law, and local jurisdictions have long avoided weighing in on federal turf — either to maintain relations with immigrant communities or simply because of budgets already stretched thin." However, Trump's administration could retaliate against such defiance by reducing the amount of federal money made available to such states and localities.
That's not the only financial burden confronting de Blasio's defiance plan: paying all those legal fees for people facing deportation and investing more money into women's health services would cost the city a pretty penny. As POLITICO reported, Planned Parenthood NYC received about $9 million in federal aid in 2015; that's a lot more than the $925,000 to $1,250,000 the city usually provides the organization through various grants annually. The potential cost of legal fees for undocumented immigrants can't be foreseen.
While the nuts and bolts of resistance remain to be worked out, de Blasio's stand reminds us that there are ways that lawmakers can protect constituents from policies that may harm them. Trump may be moving into the White House, and he undoubtedly has a lot of power there, but that power is not total, and Congress isn't the only check on it.