CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s a first for Chicago television reporters — asking Sean Spicer a question via Skype.
Here’s more of CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley’s direct, and contentious, exchange with the White House Press Secretary:
“I have a question and, if at all possible, a follow-up as well,” Blakley began. “Chicago receives about $12 million a year in law enforcement assistance from the federal government. Would President Trump cut off those funds due to Chicago’s sanctuary city status, even though it would greatly hamper Chicago police in their fight against Chicago street violence — something the President has repeatedly said troubles him deeply?”
“I think it would be interesting to want to send more money to a city that is allowing people to come into the country, who are breaking the law, who, in many cases, are committing crimes, members of gangs,” Spicer said.
“You can’t be a sanctuary city and, at the same time, seem to pretend or express concern about law reinforcement or ask for more money when probably a number of the funds you’re using in the first place are going to law enforcement to handle the situation that you’ve created for yourself.”
Spicer continued, “I think the President’s belief on sanctuary cities is one shared by upwards of 80 percent of the American people. We shouldn’t be using American tax dollars to fund cities and counties and, in some cases, potentially states that are seeking to allow people who are not legally in this country, who potentially can do us harm to get funding. I think there’s no question — it’s not a question of what he will do. His intentions have been very clear from the beginning. I think it’s vastly supported by the vast majority of the American people. But I think to suggest that somehow they’re not inextricably linked is a failure to fully appreciate the scenario.”
“Does that mean the President is more concerned with deporting illegal immigrants than he is with putting shooters and killers in jail?” Blakley questioned.
“Respectfully, I think you’re de-linking the two issues,” Spicer said. “If you have people who are in this country illegally, that are part of a gang, that are a threat to public safety, or committing a crime, then funding that activity and allowing that to fester is in itself a problem.”
In those comments, the White House directly links illegal immigration and crime — something President Trump did repeatedly throughout the campaign.
Trump told crowds that thousands of Americans have been killed by illegal immigrants. However, research shows illegal immigrants are less likely than native-born Americans to be involved in crime.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is sticking by Chicago’s Sanctuary status, insisting the city is on firm legal ground, and implying its willing to go to court to keep those federal funds.