Weinberger: Burlington to Seek Status as 'Sanctuary City' | Off Message

Weinberger: Burlington to Seek Status as 'Sanctuary City'


Mayor Miro Weinberger speaking at a news conference about ballot questions - SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • Sasha Goldstein
  • Mayor Miro Weinberger speaking at a news conference about ballot questions
As president-elect Donald Trump vows to clamp down on undocumented immigrants, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger wants to take steps in the opposite direction.

Speaking with Vermont Public Radio Thursday, Weinberger announced his intention to make Burlington a sanctuary city for immigrants, codifying protections for undocumented immigrants who are pulled over by police, and prohibiting municipal workers or law enforcement from asking about immigration status.

Burlington already meets most of those requirements, and considered formally becoming a sanctuary city in the early 2000s, Weinberger noted.

“Our practices have been consistent with cities that consider themselves sanctuary cities and what I think it is time for now, given the uncertainty in the community, is for us to take that step and to formalize our practices into policy,” he said.

The announcement comes in the wake of Trump’s call to strip federal funding from sanctuary cities, which he blamed for “so many needless deaths.”

“Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars, and we will work with Congress to pass legislation to protect those jurisdictions that do assist federal authorities,” he told crowds on the campaign trail in August, according to CNN.

Weinberger characterized the move as a necessary pushback against Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric and policies. And while the decision may endanger some federal funds, he anticipated that the financial impact on the city will be “modest.”

“What I want Burlingtonians to know, and what I particularly want the immigrants living in this community to know, is that you are living in the same Burlington today that you were living in before last Tuesday’s election,” he said.

Weinberger said that he will work with the city council to formalize the changes within the coming weeks.