Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a surprising visit Wednesday to Trump Tower, where the Democrat and former White House chief of staff under President Barack Obama hand-delivered to President-elect Donald Trump a letter signed by a total of 18 big-city mayors around the country.
The subject: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the program Obama created by executive action protecting immigrants brought into the country illegally as children, often called Dreamers.
"DACA makes our communities and country safer -- both in terms of national security and public safety," says the letter, signed by Emanuel and mayors such as Bill de Blasio of New York, Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Marty Walsh of Boston and Sylvester Turner of Houston.
In a private meeting, Mayor Emanuel hand-delivered a letter from US mayors to the President-Elect urging him to continue the DACA program. pic.twitter.com/MQgxENfSai— ChicagosMayor (@ChicagosMayor) December 7, 2016
Notably absent: any mayor from South Florida, one of the most immigrant-rich regions in the country.
Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado said that's because he wasn't asked to sign.
Regalado, a Republican, did not back Trump.
Emanuel told reporters at Trump Tower that young people protected by DACA shouldn't be targeted after having notified the federal government in good faith of their identity and whereabouts -- one of the top concerns among DACA recipients.
"They're trying to achieve the American Dream. It's no fault of their own their parents came here," Emanuel said. "We should embrace them, rather than do a bait-and-switch."
Emanuel said he also defended sanctuary cities to Trump, who has pledged to do away with federal funding for municipalities that fail to cooperate with federal immigration detentions. Miami-Dade acts as a de facto sanctuary county, though Mayor Carlos Gimenez has tried to argue that the county is not formally a sanctuary because it's only trying to save money, not make a political statement.
A full story on the letter and Regalado and Gimenez has been posted here.