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Garcetti pushes back against possible cuts in federal funds over immigration stance

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday that President-elect Donald Trump would be making a “mistake” if his administration cuts federal funding to L.A. over the city’s immigration stance.

“Anything that would take away federal aid would cause social, economic and security problems,” Garcetti said. “I am hoping we can have this conversation separate and without threats.”

Reince Priebus, Trump's designee to be the White House chief of staff, told CNN on Sunday that the Trump administration is exploring cutting off federal money to so-called sanctuary cities.

Trump vowed during the election to punish such municipalities for their lenient policies toward illegal immigration. Los Angeles is slated to receive about $500 million this fiscal year directly from the federal government to pay for services such as port security and homeless shelters.

That figure doesn’t include federal money that flows to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a joint city-county agency. The agency will receive about $23 million in federal Housing and Urban Development funds this fiscal year.

L.A. police and city leaders have vocally protested any immigration crackdown under Trump, with both Garcetti and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck saying in the last week that police won’t change their enforcement policies.

CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Priebus on “State of the Union” whether Trump would cut federal funding to Los Angeles given the city’s position.

Priebus said he personally feels that funding shouldn't flow to sanctuary cities, but said the issue is open to negotiation.

“The idea that a city would decide to ignore federal law and then want the federal government to help them anyway is an inconsistent position for those local governments to continue to engage in,” Priebus said.

Garcetti was asked about Priebus’ comments Monday at a Boyle Heights event with local high school students centered on the issue of deportation fears under Trump.

“We participate all the time with our federal immigration authorities and we will continue to do so,” he said.

Garcetti also suggested that programs targeting clean air and homeless funding may be jeopardized if federal money no longer comes in. Federal funds pay for homeland security, too, he added.

“We have a mutual interest in fighting terrorism,” Garcetti said.

Los Angeles County is home to more than 1 million of the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country without legal status.

Beck said last week he would not change the LAPD’s stance on immigration enforcement, despite Trump’s pledge to toughen federal immigration laws and deport millions of people upon taking office.

Both Beck and Garcetti have said the LAPD will continue to enforce Special Order 40, which bars officers from contacting someone solely to determine their immigration status.

dakota.smith@latimes.com

Twitter: @dakotacdsmith

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