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Walsh Says He's Concerned About Boston's Federal Funding Under Trump Administration

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says he's concerned about the city's federal funding under President-elect Trump's administration, since the city offers some protections for immigrants who are in the country illegally.

Trump says he plans to pull federal dollars from so-called "sanctuary cities" — places where immigrants are not asked about their legal status, and where local officials do not prosecute immigrants based solely on their immigration status.

While Boston does not call itself a sanctuary city, there are certain protections in place for immigrants who live here without legal status. In 2014, the city council unanimously passed a city ordinance known as the Trust Act, which prohibits local law enforcement from questioning or detaining someone on the basis of their immigration status.

Should President-elect Trump follow through with cutting the almost $250 million in federal funds Boston receives, Mayor Walsh says it could be felt everywhere, from infrastructure to housing to education.

But, the mayor says, it can't happen overnight.

"[Trump] can't just simply pull the plug," Walsh said. "There's contracts and there's an understanding, money that cities and towns get from the federal government anyway, so I don't think it's as simple as saying, 'Stop the money to Massachusetts or Boston.' You can't do that."

Walsh says he's not yet thinking about where the city might be able to make up for lost federal funding, but instead said he will wait to see how things unfold after Trump takes office.

Walsh does not, however, see the state coming to the rescue should Boston take a hit.

"I don't think the state has the resources to be able to fill a large federal gap like that," he said. "Plus, it wouldn't be smart by the White House. Massachusetts, and Boston in particular, are doing incredibly well as far as moving our economy forward and creating jobs."

Mayor Walsh says Boston is a city where immigrants are respected and his office continues to advise immigrants looking for pathways to citizenship through the Office of Immigrant Advancement.

Related:

Shannon Dooling Twitter Reporter
Shannon Dooling is a reporter representing WBUR on a team of public radio station journalists in the New England News Collaborative.

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