Mayor Marty Walsh’s immigration stance has taken him into the spotlight again. Walsh appeared on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” Tuesday night.
Walsh, a vocal critic of President Trump’s travel ban, chatted with Trevor Noah about the Patriots and the immigration crisis that’s roiling the country.
Noah asked Walsh about why the mayor wants to help undocumented immigrants stay in the country.
Walsh said that with 28 percent of Bostonians being immigrants and 43 percent of residents being first-generation Americans, it’s the proper stance.
“As the mayor of a city that’s primarily first-generation immigrant city, I think it’s important for me to stand up, and there’s other great mayors around the country that have stood up as well,” Walsh said.
Walsh told Noah that he saw youths paying attention during the presidential election and noticed that a lot were afraid after the election.
“ . . . I just think it’s the wrong thing,” Walsh said.
If Washington “truly wants to deal with fixing immigration,” Walsh said, then Republicans and Democrats need to come together on reform.
“That’s the way you do it, not by putting out threats,” Walsh said rebuking Trump’s threats to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities.
“If you’re going to take money away from a major city like Boston, and other cities across America, you’re doing damage to the economy and you’re hurting the economy,” Walsh said.
According to Walsh, Boston receives about $500 million in federal funding: $100 million goes towards schools, $25 million to public safety, $25 million to other programs, and $280 million goes towards housing.
“There’s a whole list of what we have,” Walsh said.
“We need a leader that’s gonna step up, and if you want to work on immigration, that’s fine, do it, but bring in the leaders, the Republicans and Democrats and the Congress and the Senate to come up with some reforms here and some fixing, don’t threaten people,” Walsh said. “Two days later we come out with a refugee ban, we’re blocking at the airports around America. . . . You can’t stereotype, saying everyone who comes from a Muslim country or from the seven countries on the list is a terrorist. They’re not terrorists. They’re good hard-working people.”
Noah praised Walsh’s stance, calling it a tough position to be in because Walsh hails from one of the few US cities to be struck by terrorism.
“Many people can speak, but very few people actually come from a city where they have been the victims of a terror attack,” Noah said.
Asked what his response would be to people who question how Walsh plans on protecting them, Walsh stated his belief that the key lies in intelligence.
“If you want to make investments, make investments in TSA, make investments in border patrol, make investments in areas that we keep the bad people out once we throw them out.
“My police department in Boston, we’re not going to be immigration police,” Walsh added. “However, if we find somebody that commits a serious crime, we don’t want them in our city. We’ll get them through our system, and then we’ll deport them, they should be deported.”
Walsh said it’s clear that there’s a problem with immigration, mentioning that Congress has failed to act for nearly a decade.
“We took an oath of office . . . to fix a problem, and that’s what Washington has to do right now,” Walsh said. “They have to stop blaming people, stop changing the topic, stop trying to hide under the diguise of terrorism and undocumented immigration, and really address the issues moving forward.”
Earlier in the segment, Noah congratulated Walsh on the Patriots’ spectacular win at Super Bowl LI.
Bringing up the Patriots’ parade, which according to Walsh was attended by about 1 million people, Noah asked, “Why do people still come out? You’ve won it so many times.”
“I think it’s cause it’s No. 5 and the whole country hates us and they hate Tom Brady,” Walsh said. “They think he’s really handsome, but they hate him.”
“It’s easy to hate when they’re that good,” Noah said.
On Wednesday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer was asked to comment on the Walsh interview by the Boston Herald’s Adriana Cohen. Spicer spoke at the daily briefing about the president’s move to strip funding from sanctuary cities.
He said, “I think the president’s executive order is pretty clear.” He said, “There’s a concern about the safety of the American people and how we let people come into this country and, second, with respect to the American taxpayer.
“The president is going to do everything in his power to respect the money that taxpayers send to Washington” and ensure it is “spent facilitating legal activities and on American citizens,” he said.
Watch the interview below:
Martin Finucane contrinuted to this report. Aimee Ortiz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @aimee_ortiz.