Trump’s Economic Adviser Won’t Rule Out Blocking Coronavirus Relief To Sanctuary Cities

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  • Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow would not definitively rule out the possibility of local immigration policy being a condition for a federal bailout package for state governments. 
  • Kudlow’s comments come after President Donald Trump suggested he may withhold coronavirus relief for states that have sanctuary cities, saying those policies must be adjusted. 
  • The president has long sought to withhold federal funds from cities that refuse to cooperate with ICE, with several city government lodging lawsuits over the matter. 

Larry Kudlow, the director of the U.S. National Economic Council, won’t rule out the possibility of prohibiting bailout funds to states that have sanctuary cities.

Appearing Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Kudlow spoke about a possible “Phase Four” of a coronavirus stimulus bill to help Americans struggling economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. The top White House economic adviser also was asked if a Phase Four would include funds for state and local governments.

“There may be additional legislation,” Kudlow began, noting the federal government has already green-lighted more than $3 trillion in “direct federal assistance” for individuals and struggling businesses in the country. “We probably will have some ideas.”

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Kudlow then pivoted to a possible bailout for state governments. President Donald Trump had previously spoken about such a bailout, but said such funds could be contingent upon state governments cracking down on cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

The president’s economic adviser on Sunday acknowledged Trump’s previous comments on sanctuary cities and a possible bailout package for the states, but added that nothing is official.

“Regarding the states, as you know, the president has from time to time spoken about linking that to sanctuary cities,” Kudlow said. “I don’t think anything’s been decided yet.”

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“We have poured hundreds of billions into the states — perhaps there will be more of that,” he continued. “Look, we know the economy is still in a terrible contractionary phase, tremendous hardships everywhere. That’s why we put up several rescue packages led by President Trump and with bipartisan support of Congress.”

Since the dawn of his administration, Trump has made immigration enforcement a top priority. A massive wall between the U.S. and Mexico, asylum agreements with Latin American countries to help stem the migration crisis, and a host of other immigration measures have all been spearheaded under the Trump administration.

In response, however, many progressive jurisdictions across the country have adopted “sanctuary” policies, making it harder for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to locate and apprehend criminal foreign nationals living unlawfully in the U.S.

These jurisdictions, colloquially referred to as “sanctuary cities,” adopt a host of measures that make it more difficult for federal immigration agents to do their job, such as refusing to honor ICE detainer requests, forbidding local law enforcement from asking about an individual’s immigration status, and other similar policies.

Trump has long fought against sanctuary cities. Most notably, his administration has tried withholding public safety grants from Chicago and other notorious sanctuary cities.

Since conversations began about a coronavirus-related bailout for states, the president suggested relations with federal immigration authorities would be a condition of such a package.

“The problem with the states is we’re not looking to recover 25 years of bad management and give them the money they lost. That’s unfair to other states,” Trump said Tuesday.

“If it is COVID-related, we can talk about it, but we want certain things also, including sanctuary city adjustments,” he went on. “We have so many people in sanctuary cities, which I don’t even think they are popular even by radical left because people are being protected that shouldn’t be protected and a lot of bad things are happening with sanctuary cities.”

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