30 American mayor and county leaders wrote an open letter to President Barack Obama this weekend, asking him to provide additional executive protection for illegal immigrants before Donald Trump takes office on January 20. Signatories included New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and many more.
After a lengthy beginning in which the coalition – calling themselves Cities for Action – praised the president for his work protecting illegal immigrants from deportation, the city officials asked Obama to make sure those individuals currently shielded by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program continued to be protected under the new administration.
“DACA has tremendously benefitted our communities by helping our residents thrive and contribute in myriad ways,” the politicians wrote. “We call upon your administration to accept early renewal applications for current DACA holders to extend temporary protections for them. In addition, we urge USCIS to commit to speedy processing of initial and renewal applications.”
The city and county executives also asked President Obama to expand Temporary Protected Status for those immigrants whose home countries have been declared unsafe.
“We now ask that your administration continues this urgent form of humanitarian protection by reviewing the current TPS designations and extending such designations or making re-designations or new designations as appropriate before the end of your term,” they wrote. “In particular, we urge your administration to take steps to protect immigrants from countries that recently experienced extraordinary conditions.”
As it so happens, however, there’s only so much Obama can do. The nature of executive orders is that they can be undone by the next president. And while Donald Trump has not yet made it clear what he means to do about the president’s 2012 DACA order, he will certainly not be hamstrung by any last minute efforts on the part of the Obama administration.
This letter was written solely for political purposes. This Cities for Action group wants to raise their profile and launch a pre-emptive strike against the Trump administration. If Trump wants to come in and declare all of Obama’s executive orders null and void, there’s nothing these mayors can do about it.
They are terrified, of course, that their commitment to harboring illegal immigrants will result in a loss of federal funding. They know that if they are forced to choose between the general welfare of their entire populations and a tiny segment of illegal immigrants, their voters will be watching carefully to see where their loyalties lie.
When and if that day comes, their pal Obama isn’t going to be around to save them.