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Somerville risks losing at least $6 million as sanctuary city

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone on Wednesday said his city risks losing at least $6 million if President Trump carries through with his threat to cut off federal aid to sanctuary cities, but Curtatone insisted his city would defend immigrants.

“We’re going to stand with our neighbors, the children who go to school with our kids, our colleagues in this community, the people who love this country,” he told the Globe.

In a statement, Curtatone said Somerville has been a sanctuary city since 1987, and he insisted it would remain so.

Policies vary by city, but generally, sanctuary cities refuse to hold immigrants after a judge or clerk-magistrate has ordered them released on bail, arguing that it is unconstitutional to detain someone for a civil immigration violation after a judge has ordered them released from custody.

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Officials in sanctuary cities and towns say they fear that if police cooperate with federal immigration authorities, immigrants will be afraid to report crimes or help them solve homicides and other cases.

“Sanctuary Cities are not breaking any existing laws,’’ Curtatone said in a statement. “Somerville does not harbor criminals, and we are in regular communication with and cooperate in the interest of public safety with our federal agencies. No one who commits a violent crime, felony, or serious crimes gets a free pass here. We do cooperate with immigration on those cases.’’

He added that Somerville’s crime has not increased as a result of being a sanctuary city.

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone headed to a press conference to talk about immigration.
Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone headed to a press conference to talk about immigration.(Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)