CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said she fears President Donald Trump is taking the U.S. back to “the dark days of isolationism” with his immigration policies, and called his rhetoric “disturbing.”
Preckwinkle, a Democrat, minced no words in her assessment of Trump’s first few weeks in office, a time she called sobering and troubling.
“The decisions being made and the rhetoric being used are both disturbing and contrary to my core values,” she said Wednesday. “From the president’s seeming determination to roll back the clock on health care reform, to his clear intent to roll back our immigration policy to the dark days of isolationism, to the stated positions of some of his cabinet employees; we’re left wondering what kind of country we live in.”
In 2011, the Cook County Board passed a so-called “sanctuary ordinance,” which orders the sheriff’s office to ignore Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers unless the federal government covers the costs, and to release undocumented immigrants being held in custody on other charges after they have posted bail.
Preckwinkle said she intends for Cook to remain a sanctuary county, welcoming all immigrants regardless of legal status.
She also suggested the county could go to court if federal funds are withheld as a result of Cook’s sanctuary status. Trump has threatened to block sanctuary cities and counties from receiving federal funds.
“We’re looking at that internally, and talking with people across the country about potential responses. I think we already saw one; the governors of the states of Washington and Minnesota are challenging the [travel] ban in court in Seattle,” she said.
Preckwinkle could not say how much the county is prepared to give up.
She also said Trump’s plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act could harm a lot of people.
“We’ve heard the president and members of Congress talk about repeal and replace; and now repair. One ‘R’ that’s missing is reality,” she said.