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New Haven vows to continue protecting undocumented immigrants, despite Trump’s plan

NEW HAVEN–President-elect Donald Trump promises he will withhold federal funding from cities that remain sanctuary cities. But New Haven Mayor Toni Harp i...
New Haven city landscape

NEW HAVEN--President-elect Donald Trump promises he will withhold federal funding from cities that remain sanctuary cities. But New Haven Mayor Toni Harp is ready for a fight.

The Elm City is one of dozens of cities across America that say they will continue to be a so-called "Sanctuary City," a city that has policies in place to protect immigrants from prosecution for being undocumented.

"No one should fear, as long as they're law-abiding, and they contribute to their communities, should feel afraid," said Mayor Harp.

Trump has vowed, for the time being, to deport only undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes, but other immigrants are wary -- though more so of immigration officials than of Trump.

"Many times they're knocking on doors and waiting at train stations for people, who can be mothers, who can be children," said Tashi Sanchez-Llaury, of CT Students for a Dream. "They've gone to schools."

And, if Trump were to target New Haven, for deportations?

"If he picks a handful of cities and we are one of them, I've said to my corporation counsel be ready to sue," said Harp.

Jonathan Wharton, the chairman of the New Haven Republican Town Committee, said, "Immigration is a federal responsibility and we stand with our federal government."

But Harp is standing strong: "We are not going to take this lying down," she said.

But, she said  she's heartened by Trump's softened stance on deportations and is hoping he also works with lawmakers to improve the immigration process "so that it is easier for people who want to be documented citizens, who lived here peacefully for decades, to actually become citizens."

She says many folks don't apply for citizenship because it's cost prohibitive at up to $1,000 per person.

Sanctuary cities do not require their police to contact immigration officials with the immigration status of anyone they come in contact with.

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