Sanctuary cities prepare for potential loss of federal funding

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Local sanctuary cities are scrambling to rework budgets in the event the Trump Administration cuts millions in federal funding.

During the campaign, President-elect Donald Trump vowed to cut funding to sanctuary cities, or cities that don’t question a person’s immigration status when stopped by police.

Most of those federal dollars that come to the cities are doled out to various non-profits, but this also affects a city's bottom line. Still, cities like Boston and Cambridge say they are not changing their attitudes towards immigrants.

"We're looking right now at about a $14 million hit if it were to happen, if we lost all the federal funding that comes directly to us,” Cambridge City Manager Louis DePasquale told FOX25’s Kerry Kavanaugh.

That money helps cover everything from affordable housing and heating assistance to special education.

"It goes into a lot of areas and again we would prioritize some of them and take a look at where we would continue to provide those services where we might be able to reduce some if we had to or how it would all work out,” he said.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said that, despite the threat, he doesn’t plan on changing the city’s stance on immigrants.

"We have the Trust Act in the city of Boston and [we are] absolutely standing by that," Walsh said.

Walsh is doubling down and taking that message abroad.

“Boston is a city of inclusion, welcoming diversity. We are a global city and we are going to stay that way. We are not going to stop being that city that respects immigrants, both documented and undocumented,” he told the Irish Times.

Boston is technically not a sanctuary city, but it offers similar protections to immigrants.

“I don't know if the federal government can actually cut money back. The money is appropriated by Congress,” Walsh told FOX25.

FOX25 asked the City of Boston about how much funding could be in jeopardy, but we're still waiting for that figure.

In Cambridge, City Manager DePasquale said they are not ruling out some slight tax increases as a possibility if these cuts become reality next year.