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Identity & Community

Peduto Says Trump's New Immigration Demands Hold Dreamers ‘Hostage’

Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Immigrant rights supporters listen as they gather at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017.

President Donald Trump plans to visit Harrisburg Wednesday to pitch his tax reform plan. 

Earlier in the week, the president announced he would make a deal to protect young immigrants in the U.S. illegally in exchange for approval of other tough immigration measures including a border wall, imposing penalties on sanctuary cities and reducing the ways that immigrants can obtain green cards.

“We seem to have forgotten that people like Ronald Reagan, like George Bush spoke out in support saying that they would never look at throwing these people [DACA “Dreamers”] out of this country,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. “And now they're being used as hostages by this administration.”

When the president announced last month that he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals unless Congress adopted tighter immigration rules, Peduto and other mayors promised they would protect dreamers. 

Peduto admitted that immigration is a federal purview, but insisted that municipal and state officials have some say. He said that the federal government cannot force local law enforcement to carry out immigration law by detaining undocumented immigrants including young adults who were brought to this country illegally as children.   

“This is a clear violation of the Tenth Amendment. There are a number of violations of the Fourth Amendment. And what we will do is protect everybody's constitutional rights within the city's borders just as cities all across the country will do as well,” Peduto said.

The Pittsburgh mayor has also been critical of the Trump administration’s environmental policies, including withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and this week’s announcement that it was revoking the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

That plan regulated carbon emissions from power generating plants. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said the power plants couldn’t “reasonably meet the standards.”

According to Peduto, cities can take the lead in helping to reduce emissions.

“Our goal is that by 2030, that all of the energy that we'll be purchasing will be coming from renewable sources," Peduto said. "When people decide to do this as well, it becomes a market force that's greater than any of the forces that the federal government could impose.”