Dem Mayors Decline Trump White House Invitation

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January 24, 2018

Several mayors, including Democrats Mitch Landrieu (New Orleans) and Bill de Blasio (New York City), on Wednesday declined invitations to the White House.

The decision not to attend a Wednesday infrastructure meeting came after the Justice Department escalated its crackdown on "sanctuary cities." The Department sent out letters to 23 cities on Wednesday requesting compliance with federal immigration law, CNN reported. These so-called sanctuary cities ignore federal immigration laws and provide a "safe space" for illegal immigrants.

Landrieu said he would not go to the meeting under "false pretenses," suggesting the infrastructure meeting was merely a front and the real topic to be addressed would be immigration. 

"An attack on one of our cities’ mayors who is following the Constitution is an attack on all of us," Landrieu told reporters in Washington. "I will not be attending that meeting."

De Blasio tweeted his decision to avoid the White House meeting, claiming the Department of Justice was being "racist" towards immigrant communities.

"I will NOT be attending today’s meeting at the White House after @realDonaldTrump’s Department of Justice decided to renew their racist assault on our immigrant communities," de Blasio tweeted Wednesday. "It doesn’t make us safer and it violates America’s core values."

At least three majors who were expected to be at the meeting–Denver, Co. Mayor Michael Hancock (D.), Louisville, Ky. Mayor Greg Fischer (D.), and de Blasio–were among those who received the Justice Department letters. 

Fischer will attend Wednesday's meeting at the White House, despite his city receiving the letter. Fischer did, however, criticize the administration's decision to send the letter.

"This notice today is insisting that people send proof that they are in compliance with federal law, and I would bet that many of us up here have already done that," he told reporters Wednesday in Washington, D.C. "So perhaps the mailbox at DOJ should be checked."

Representatives for Hancock did not immediately respond to inquiries about whether he would attend.

Burnsville, Minn. Mayor Elizabeth Kautz is the only Republican mayor to decline the event so far.

A Department of Justice official defended the decision to send the letters, commenting that the department was working to "ensure compliance with applicable federal law."

"Our goal here is to ensure compliance with applicable federal law. Our goal is to ensure that jurisdictions that will comply with applicable federal law receive the the grant money and can keep the grant money that they have already obtained," the official said.