New Haven reacts to President Trump’s executive order on sanctuary cities

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NEW HAVEN -- Under threat to lose federal funding, Mayor Toni Harp said the city of New Haven won't be changing any of its policies. She told FOX 61 New Haven will continue to be a welcoming city.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that will strip federal funding to so called "sanctuary cities" like New Haven and take away their access to receiving federal grants.

"Of course I'm very disappointed. You know, we're a country that has been a country that welcomes people from all over the world. They've helped the United States grow to be an important power throughout the world, but it's because of our diversity that that has occurred," said Mayor Harp.

Harp said the city does receive a large sum of federal education funds and is currently expecting a federal Department of Justice grant that could now be in jeopardy.

"We're going to look to see whether or not his executive order has the power to actually stop funding that has come through congress," she said. "It's really a balance of powers issues and we're going to be looking into it."

Governor Dannel Malloy pointed out there is no such thing or no legal definition for a "sanctuary city."

"We live by the law and we protect everyone under that law, so in many cases or in this case, this is yet another thing I don't know what the President is talking about," said Governor Malloy. "We follow the laws in the Constitution. That's what we do. An executive order is not in this case a law. So you know, congress needs to give direction and those things can be tested in the courts, but we're going to live by the law."

Activists in New Haven said they are preparing for the worst, but comforted that they have an ally at city hall.

Jesus Morales of Unidad Latina en Accion said they are meeting often and continuing to fight for immigrants' rights.

"We're trying to obviously stay calm, make sure that nobody goes and panics first of all," Morales said. "But second of all, just reassure people that we're going to do everything that is humanely possible to make sure that whatever happens with this executive order, we're going to defy it. We're going to challenge it."