President Trump’s plan to cut off federal funding to sanctuary jurisdictions will be difficult to impose on Baltimore, a city that has sought to distinguish itself and increase its population with immigrant-friendly policies, the Baltimore Sun reports. Trump signed an executive order Jan 25 that he said “cracks down on sanctuary cities” that try to shield some immigrants in the country illegally from deportation. Such policies have angered Republican lawmakers and others, who say they flout federal immigration law. The term “sanctuary city” has no legal definition, and a growing body of court precedent has left Trump with little room to force local governments to change, experts said.
Hundreds of cities and counties that have adopted or are considering measures to help undocumented immigrants are watching closely to see how the Trump administration enforces the order. Trump’s order has set off a flurry of legal reviews in Maryland as state and local officials assessed their policies. Philip Torrey of the Harvard Immigration Project looked at the city’s policies at the Sun’s request. “I don’t see anything in the Baltimore policy that would violate statute and give the president grounds to pull funding,” he said. Christopher Lasch, a University of Denver law professor who studies immigration, agreed. “It seems fairly clear that the kinds of actions that are being taken in Maryland are not anywhere near … violations” of the law cited in Trump’s order. A policy established by former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake prohibits city police officers from questioning suspects about their immigration status.