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Mayor Bronin Says Hartford to Remain a Sanctuary City

Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public Radio
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin in a file photo.

So-called “sanctuary cities” across the country are telling President-elect Donald Trump that they won't let local police act like federal immigration enforcers, even if their funding is threatened. 

Hartford is one such city. And Mayor Luke Bronin is joining mayors in other cities, including New Haven, to say they will remain a safe haven for people without immigration documentation.

WSHU’s Cassandra Basler spoke with Bronin. Below is a transcript of their conversation.

Hartford Mayor Luke 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.

WSHU's Cassandra 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?

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.

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

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.

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?

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.

Bronin is holding a town hall to address concerns following election night on Friday, November 18, at the Lyceum in Hartford.

This report was originally published by WSHU Public Radio.

Cassandra Basler oversees Connecticut Public’s flagship daily news programs, Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She’s also an editor of the station’s limited series podcast, 'In Absentia' and producer of the five-part podcast Unforgotten: Connecticut’s Hidden History of Slavery.

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