New York mayor tells Donald Trump he will 'protect' immigrants from deportation

Bill de Blasio talks to the press in front of Trump Tower after meetings with Donald Trump.
Bill de Blasio talks to the press in front of Trump Tower after meetings with Donald Trump.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - The Democratic mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, said he met President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday (Nov 16) and warned him that he would work to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.

"I reiterated to him that this city and so many cities around the country will do all we can to protect our residents and to make sure that families are not torn apart," de Blasio told reporters after the meeting at Trump Tower.

Trump has vowed to deport or incarcerate as many as three million undocumented immigrants with criminal records after he takes office on Jan 20.

De Blasio said Trump's stance "flew in the face of all that was great about New York City, the ultimate city of immigrants".

"The place that has succeeded because it was open for everyone, the place built of generation after generation of immigrants," he said.

In the wake of Trump's Nov 8 election victory, de Blasio said the city would delete from its data base by year-end the names of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who have received a city ID card, so they cannot be identified or deported by the incoming administration.

The mayor and Trump are known to have strained relations.

De Blasio said he stressed to Trump "that I would be open-minded as we continue substantive discussions but also vigilant."

Like de Blasio, the mayors of other major US cities with high numbers of immigrants have vowed to protect them from deportation, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and the US capital Washington.