News & Media

Faith Leaders: Trump Administration is Doubling-Down on Efforts to Pit Communities Against Each Other


PICO National Network

August 7, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                
CONTACT: Jennifer Farmer, 202.306.0136
Email: jfarmer@piconetwork.org


Faith Leaders: Trump Administration is Doubling-Down
on Efforts to Pit Communities Against Each Other

WASHINGTON – Leaders with PICO National Network, the largest faith-based organizing network in the country, condemned Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement that the U.S. Department of Justice will deny targeted violence prevention resources to “Sanctuary Cities,” including Baltimore, Maryland; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Stockton, California; and San Bernardino, California.

The Rev. Michael McBride, director of PICO National Network’s LIVE FREE Campaign, rebuked the move, calling it a thinly veiled attempt to pit people against each other:

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ move to deny resources to ‘sanctuary cities’ is a further attempt by this administration to punish and victimize some of our poorest and most vulnerable communities to score political points. Despite the Attorney General’s rhetoric about promoting public safety, this move is a clear signal that the administration’s core objective is to target immigrant communities by any means necessary – even at the expense of public safety.

“This is a thinly veiled attempt to pit highly vulnerable populations against one another. By blackmailing local city governments that have chosen not to spend scarce resources on targeting immigrants, what under the Trump administration should rightfully be called the Department of Injustice is trying to force cities to choose between protecting the rights of immigrant communities and ensuring public safety in the most violent neighborhoods, continuing to sow seeds of mistrust and conflict among vulnerable populations that desperately need protection.

“If they truly had any concern for justice, all in the Trump administration would do well to heed the words of the Prophet Isaiah: ‘Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.’”

Eddie Carmona, director of PICO National Network’s LA RED Campaign, questioned the legality of the move, noting that it fits a pattern of behavior from the Trump administration:

“Today’s announcement is further evidence of the Trump administration doubling-down on its agenda of white supremacy and its efforts to criminalize families and pit communities of color against each other. As they did with their antiquated, nativist immigration proposal, the Trump administration has made plain that they do not believe all are equal under the law and that some lives are more valuable than others.

“The move is just more proof of this administration’s disregard for their neighbor and for the rule of law – particularly when it comes to their own behavior. Time and again, the Supreme Court has ruled against this kind of vindictive policymaking. The federal government cannot withhold funding to dictate how state and local governments do their jobs.”