LAWRENCE, Mass. (WHDH) – The mayors of Boston and Lawrence responded to President Donald Trump on Monday after he criticized the two cities for their impact on the opioid epidemic in New England.
Trump traveled to New Hampshire on Monday to unveil his plan on how to combat the opioid epidemic. Speaking at Manchester Community College, Trump said a U.S.-Mexico border wall and punishing “sanctuary” cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration authorities would help reduce the flow of drugs and help end the addiction epidemic.
“I’m repeating my call on Congress to block funds for sanctuary cities and to close deadly loopholes that allow criminals back into our country and into our country in the first place,” said Trump.
Trump specifically mentioned Lawrence for being a sanctuary city and cited a Dartmouth study that found Lawrence to be a primary distributor of fentanyl to six counties in New Hampshire. He also said Boston should be blocked from federal funds for acting as a sanctuary city.
Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera fired back at Trump’s comments on Monday.
“Shame on him. We have a public health crisis,” said Rivera. “The opioid crisis isn’t what he wants it to be, some boogeyman that came across the border that speaks a different language. The boogeyman lives in the souls of the people who are addicted to this awful, awful drug.” Rivera called for more community policing and treatment to help those addicted to opioids. He also invited Trump to come visit Lawrence so he can see the city’s struggles first-hand.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh also responded to Trump in a statement:
“The President criminalized both our immigrant community and those suffering from substance abuse all in one speech today. It’s time to stop painting all undocumented immigrants as criminals. Our immigrant community makes positive contributions to our city each and every day. And this epidemic is not something we can arrest our way out of — we need actual investments in prevention and treatment programs and policies, not just talk.”
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