Hancock knocks Trump for 'sanctuaries' threat, and Trump didn't mind

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The gathering came amid the winter meeting of the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, where New York Mayor Bill DiBlasio, among others, chose to boycott the White House meeting. At the beginning of his term, the president tapped Ben Carson, a conservative pundit and retired pediatric neurosurgeon with no previous experience in housing, urban policy or government, to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Mayor Thornton says he is excited to share LaGrange's story with the President and his staff.

She had chosen not to attend the meeting, spokesman Laurence Grotheer said.

Georgia officials appeared to avoid much of the day's drama after several prominent Democratic mayors, including Bill De Blasio of New York City and U.S. Conference of Mayors President Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans, announced they would skip the meeting.

Landrieu pointed to a Justice Department (DOJ) letter sent Wednesday that requested documents from almost two dozen jurisdictions to show if local law enforcement is sharing information with federal immigration authorities, with the DOJ threatening to issue subpoenas if jurisdictions fail to cooperate. Many cities have been openly defiant in the face of the threats, with lawsuits pending in Chicago, Philadelphia and California over whether the administration has overstepped its authority by seeking to withhold grant money.

"Firstly, enforcing the law of the land is the executive branch's Constitutional duty - it's not 'racist, ' as some have said", he added.

"My administration is dedicated to protecting innocent Americans and the mayors who choose to boycott this event have put the needs of criminal illegal immigrants over law-abiding Americans", Trump said.

"The U.S. Conference of Mayors is proud to be a bipartisan organization".

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Harp made the decision in a show of solidarity with other mayors of so-called sanctuary cities who decided not to go.

Other mayors joining Landrieu's boycott included New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio. "And this just proves, once again, that they're not trying to work with American cities", de Blasio said. "And if mayors have a problem with that, they should talk to Congress, the people that pass the laws".

"The Department remains concerned that your jurisdiction's laws, policies, or practices may violate section 1373, or, at a minimum, that they may be interpreted or applied in a manner inconsistent with section 1373".

The mayors were scheduled to head to the White House on Wednesday for a meeting with Trump on infrastructure.

"We can not allow people to pick and choose what laws they want to follow", she said at the press briefing.

At least the mayors of three cities that received Justice Department letters were meant to attend Wednesday's meeting: Michael Hancock of Denver, Greg Fischer of Louisville, Kentucky, and de Blasio.

A letter, sent earlier Wednesday by the Justice Department, asked cities for more compliance with federal law concerning immigration, which triggered numerous last-minute cancellations.

President Trump delivered a stern message on sanctuary cities to the nation's mayors Wednesday, saying that cities that don't cooperate with federal immigration officials "are the best friends of gangs and cartels".

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