NEW YORK: New York´s liberal mayor, Bill de Blasio, told Donald Trump on Wednesday he will do all he can to prevent the large-scale deportation of immigrants, saying many in the city are “fearful” of his presidency.

After visiting Manhattan´s Trump Tower — where the billionaire president-elect is holed up assembling his cabinet — De Blasio said he told the Republican he would push back against his signature pledge to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, and defend the American tradition of welcoming foreigners.

“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,” the Democrat told reporters.

De Blasio — along with the mayors of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and the US capital Washington — has declared his city a “sanctuary” for immigrants, vowing to protect the undocumented from deportation and extend public services regardless of their legal status.

Trump has vowed to deport or incarcerate up to three million undocumented immigrants with criminal records after he takes office on January 20. He has also pledged to end a program backed by President Barack Obama that shields from deportation people who arrived in the country as children.

De Blasio, a left-leaning Democrat who backed Trump´s rival Hillary Clinton for the White House, said his 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.

Following Trump´s election, de Blasio said the city would delete from its database the names of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who have received a city ID card, to stop the incoming administration from identifying or deporting them.

It was the latest in a string of confrontations between the two politicians.