In less than six weeks, Donald Trump will be sworn into office as the 45th president of the United States, and the clock will begin ticking on the four-year waking nightmare ahead. Trump will begin his term with a Republican Congress itching to dismantle environmental and financial regulations and repeal the Affordable Care Act, and broad executive powers to deport undocumented immigrants, track Muslims, and vastly expand the security state.

As we await the beginning of the new regime, New Yorkers face sleepless nights wondering just how dark the next few years will be. Can Trump deport people at will? Will he arrest political dissidents? Will the NYPD become his brownshirts, acting out the whims of the man the national Fraternal Order of Police backed for president? City and state officials have pledged to resist Trump on several key issues: mass deportations, the rolling back of police reforms, environmental policy, and women's health. But what specific mechanisms exist for local government to protect New York's residents from a hostile federal government? What will happen to the $7 billion in federal funding the city gets each year? Can they round up Muslims? How bad could things get?

With the help of some constitutional scholars, policy experts, and activists, Gothamist traveled down this dark path, exploring what could happen and what couldn't.

What Will Happen To The Hundreds Of Thousands Of Undocumented New Yorkers?

As New York City politicians are fond of reminding us, New York City is a "sanctuary city," meaning that local law enforcement and city agencies generally do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Sanctuary policies provide a measure of protection to the city's estimated 500,000 undocumented residents. However, local officials cannot prevent federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement from conducting operations in the city. Last year, ICE conducted home raids throughout the five boroughs, arresting hundreds and deporting 1,255 individuals.

"We should be extremely scared," Alisa Wellek, executive director of the Immigrant Defense Project, told Gothamist not long after the election. "Much of the infrastructure is in place. The laws are already incredibly harsh, the detention facilities are there and could be expanded. Trump and the Republican Congress could fund at extremely high levels a deportation apparatus that could pick up hundreds of thousands of people."

While sanctuary policies bar the NYPD from sharing information with ICE, the agency can access the police department's fingerprinting databases, which it shares with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

If Trump makes good on his promise to repeal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama policy that gave temporary legal status to hundreds of thousands of young immigrants, he will have at his fingertips a trove of information about these individuals. Participants in the program had to register with the federal government, and their addresses, ages, and gender are on file.

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Immigrants' rights activists march in protest of Trump's mass deportation plan. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)

The administration could also seek data collected through the IDNYC program, which many undocumented New Yorkers have signed up for. The de Blasio administration has promised to destroy that data by the end of the year, but is currently enmeshed in a lawsuit seeking to block it from doing so.

In terms of stopping deportations, New York can try to keep the identities and whereabouts of its undocumented population secret, and restrict access of federal authorities to hospitals, schools, and prisons. It cannot do anything to stop the federal government from enforcing immigration policy, however. It can only slow it down.

In the event of a terrorist attack or claimed imminent threat, could Trump declare martial law?

If martial law is interpreted as a dissolving of the Congress and a rule by decree, then no. "The Constitution prohibits any such thing," says Stephen Loffredo, professor of constitutional law at CUNY Law School. "There is no constitutional mechanism by which the president or any military official could displace the governing functions of the Congress or the federal courts, or displace the president's authority as a civilian leader of the executive branch. That is not a possibility."

The Constitution does not provide for a president to create new executive powers in times of emergency. "Those who wrote the Constitution knew that there would be emergencies, but were very suspicious of concentrated executive power and guarded against it," Loffredo told Gothamist.

The major exception to these restrictions is the power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus "in cases of rebellion or invasion," which would permit the temporary detention of individuals without charge or due process.

This power would be quite dangerous in the hands of Trump. However, there is an ongoing debate about whether such a suspension requires an act of Congress. During the Civil War, President Lincoln unilaterally suspended the writ. The Supreme Court rejected this action, but he ignored the court order; only later did he seek and receive congressional approval.

At the beginning of the "War on Terror," President Bush, with support from Congress, made frightening and extravagant claims of expansive executive power—including the right to declare American citizens "enemy combatants" and hold them without trial. Narrow majorities of the Supreme Court rejected this argument on several occasions, but the individuals were detained in the meantime.

However, if Congress and the courts don't intercede, a president can simply ignore constitutional limits on executive power. For decades, presidents have effectively ignored the requirement of congressional consent to wage war, and this power has been expanded significantly by the Obama administration. Obama has ordered airstrikes and sent U.S. troops into conflicts around the world without the consent of Congress, and Trump could do the same. Obama has also been unchecked in unilaterally authorizing targeted killings of U.S. citizens living abroad.

Is there going to be a Muslim registry?

Bad news on this front: one already exists, it's just on hold. The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, also known as NSEERS, was created after 9/11 by a young lawyer at the Department of Homeland Security named Kris Kobach. Kobach, who is now advising Trump on immigration issues, wants to revive NSEERS, which tracked recent arrivals from majority Muslim countries (and North Korea) and required them to check in with the federal government periodically. NSEERS was suspended in 2011 by the Obama administration, but only after more than 80,000 Muslims had registered through the program. The NSEERS program targeted specific groups—it didn't allow the general public to voluntarily sign up—so if it were to be brought back, non-Muslims couldn't simply show up and register in solidarity.

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The Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park, where hundreds of immigrants were detained after 9/11. (Wikimedia Commons)

An expansive registry would pose a major threat to Muslim communities if the worst were to happen: A terrorist attack that emboldened the president to take extraordinary action. While the Supreme Court's 1944 ruling finding Japanese internment constitutional has been widely rejected as bad precedent, it was never overturned. If the president ever ordered the internment of U.S. citizens based on race or religion, the matter would have to be revisited.

After 9/11, hundreds of immigrants—mostly Muslims—in the New York area were arrested on minor visa violations and detained as "persons of interest" at a federal detention center in Sunset Park, where they were subject to rampant physical and psychological abuse at the hands of prison guards. None were found to have connections with terrorism. They were all deported. A class action against Bush administration officials over these mass arrests is currently before the Supreme Court.

What will happen to my health insurance?

More than half a million New Yorkers gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and many of them are rightfully freaking out. Earlier this month, Governor Cuomo laid out a dismal picture of what would happen if Congress follows on promises to repeal parts of the ACA.

New York was only one of two in the nation that took funding through the ACA for an "Essential Plan," an additional subsidy from the federal government, through which many young people (this author included) were able to receive affordable health care coverage. Without the ACA, the state would be responsible for the full $850 million the plan costs, a financial burden that Governor Cuomo said "could have dire consequences for states like New York."

Medicaid is also threatened. More than six million low-income New Yorkers are currently covered under the program (three million in New York City alone), which is jointly funded by the state and the federal government. Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan's plan is to turn Medicaid into a block grant program. This would allocate a set amount of money for New York to spend on Medicaid each year, rather than tying funding levels to demand in the state. Under a block grant program, the state might not be able to provide coverage for everyone who qualifies for Medicaid.

Maybe this is why Cuomo's done an about-face on renewing the millionaire's tax. New York is going to have to start paying a lot more for its residents' health care.

Are my reproductive rights safe?

The next four years are going to be really scary for women. Donald Trump has promised to appoint an anti-abortion Supreme Court justice, and while it's not clear whether a more conservative court would overturn Roe v. Wade, the far right will step up its onslaught of attacks on women's health and abortion rights.

New York has relatively strong protections surrounding abortion and it's one of the few states where Medicaid covers most forms of the procedure. However, state law is very strict in one key area: it only ensures late-term abortions if the doctor has reason to believe the pregnant woman's life is at stake. That's harsher than the federal standard set out by Roe, which enshrines a woman's right to an abortion after 24 weeks if the pregnancy threatens her health.

Technically, the federal standard takes precedence, but practically, the criminal laws on the books deter many doctors from performing abortions for women with dangerous late-term conditions like preeclampsia or late-term fetal conditions like abnormal brain development.

"Women who are facing health concerns who are pregnant have doctors in hospitals having as many conversations with attorneys as they do with other doctors," Democratic Assemblywoman Deborah Glick told Gothamist. "What can we do? Is this a liability for the hospital?"

Glick is sponsoring the 2015 Reproductive Services Act, which would move abortion rights over to the health code and expand them to be on par with Roe v. Wade. To date, the RSA has passed the Democrat-led Assembly, but not the Senate.

Broader reproductive rights may face a more immediate threat. Currently, the Affordable Care Act requires that all health insurance plans offer copay-free contraception coverage. If it's repealed, birth control costs could go through the roof and women would have limited choices when it comes to birth control options.

Planned Parenthood's NYC chapter is also looking to lose $10 to $12 million in federal funding should the Trump administration and Congress manage to defund it, threatening its ability to provide care to patients regardless of their insurance, ability to pay, or immigration status.

The best chance right now may be the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act of 2015, a bill that would require insurers in New York to provide copay-free coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptives. Emergency contraception sold over-the counter like Plan B, which typically costs at least $50, would also be covered under the law. While the CCCA stalled in the Senate this year, advocates are encouraged by its bipartisan support.

But Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health, said New Yorkers need to face the reality that all reproductive justice legislation is threatened by "an emboldened anti-choice movement that feels like it has the wind at their backs."

Adapted from Emma Whitford's earlier story on women's health in the age of Trump.

Could Trump sell off federal property in the five boroughs to benefit his cronies?

If Donald Trump could lease the Statue of Liberty to his company to turn into a luxury hotel or Grant's Tomb to turn into a mini-golf course, he probably would. Fortunately, the president does not have the power to unilaterally sell or lease federal land. While a Trump appointee will run the Department of the Interior, which manages most federal lands, Congress has to sign off on any sale of land rights. So while a Trump flunky could suggest selling off Lady Liberty, Trump would need congressional approval. While it is true that in 2015, Republicans in both the House and the Senate passed non-binding resolutions for the federal government to unload huge swaths of federal land, in practice, this would be complicated.

Could the federal government spy upon our every move, turning our country into a digital Panopticon?

This one's easy, because the government is already doing this! (And it's running a chunk of its spying operations out of downtown Manhattan.)

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(John Moore / Getty Images)

What protections do we have as Americans against even more aggressive intrusions into our private lives and communications?

"Not nearly enough," says Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "Ostensibly, there's a warrant requirement as a general rule, but the Patriot Act allows for secret hearings and the bulk collection of data that really allows the government to track our entire online behavior."

So if the government is already spying on us, what new threat would the Trump administration pose? Mass warrantless wiretapping, spying on social media accounts, tracking cell phones and our movements, cataloguing our Google searches to use as evidence, and monitoring the products we buy are all on the table.

"This is an administration that has indicated it knows no limits. We're hopeful that there will be limits on the spying, including for people who disagree with the government," Lieberman told Gothamist. "It's just absolutely essential that there be a warrant requirement that stands between Big Brother and the people, that stands between free expression and suppression."

Could the president deputize the NYPD or force it to carry out policies like rounding up immigrants?

Not likely. "The Supreme Court has interpreted the tenth amendment to mean that the federal government has no authority to commandeer state or local officers into the administration of a federal regulatory scheme or to the enforcement of federal law," Loffredo says.

That's reassuring. But could Trump pressure the city to bend NYPD practices to his liking? Could he make us bring back "Stop and Frisk"? Trump has already threatened to slash all federal funding to New York City over its sanctuary city policies.

But according to Loffredo, precedent from a recent Supreme Court case would prevent the federal government from coercing local law enforcement into cooperation through blanket withdrawal of federal funding.

This was clarified in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. In that case, the court preserved the core components of the ACA, but it also ruled that the Obama administration could not force states to expand Medicaid by threatening to cut all existing Medicaid funding to states that refused. Broadly speaking, the court found that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to force a state to pursue a certain policy through the threat of cuts to existing federal funding commitments.

Police currently collaborate with federal law enforcement in a range of areas, including anti-terrorism and anti-gang initiatives and intellectual property enforcement, but that's only with mayoral approval. There's no way for Trump to call cops into duty, and there's also no way for the NYPD to go rogue and sign up to support team Trump.

Can I be prosecuted for political activities?
No. Courts have consistently found that the First Amendment prohibits this kind of action, and they've been quite strict about it. "The government cannot constitutionally arrest or detain, or impose any civil penalty on a person," Loffredo says in reference to the idea of political prosecutions. "That's simply outside of the realm of anything that any jurist or responsible governmental official would believe to be permissible."

The federal government has, however, frequently infiltrated political groups and spied on them. The FBI did this to the Occupy movement and to various progressive political groups during the Bush administration..

There's also an illustrious history of presidents using targeted IRS investigations to harass or intimidate political opponents. Nixon was a big fan.

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(Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

What if I am a journalist?

Ah, that's a little scarier. For journalists and their sources, precedent set by the Obama administration is a dangerous one. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, Obama's Justice Department has "prosecuted more leakers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all former presidents combined." A Trump DOJ could expand the use of the Espionage Act to more aggressively target whistleblowers and other individuals who leak government documents. It could also prosecute journalists.

"There are sections of the Espionage Act which have now been used, under President Obama, against leakers which could be used against those who publish information obtained from those leakers," legendary first amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams told Politico last week.

New York State has its own shield laws for journalists and confidential sources, but there isn't a federal shield law. Lieberman said that's a major concern. "The importance of Shield Laws could not be more obvious and critical than it is now, in the context of an administration that has made no bones about its intent to go after anybody who doesn't kowtow to the whims and policy of this administration," she said. But that kind of legislation is nowhere on the horizon.

Are we going to drown?

The Regional Plan Association recently released a shocking report on the grave threat climate change already poses to New York City and its environs. If the United States steps away from the Paris Climate Accords and global carbon emissions continue to increase, sea rise will only intensify, placing even more pressure on New York City's coastline.

Robert Freudenberg, one of the co-authors of the report, said the city can seek to cut its own emissions, even if a Trump administration seeks to abandon them. Much of what is currently being done to reduce the city's carbon footprint is being subsidized through local, rather than federal, funding.

"The city and state has done a good job seeing what they can do themselves," Freudenberg said. "That's going to be more important than ever to lead the funding effort for these projects as a city and state." Still, even if New York radically reduces its emissions, that's just a drop in the bucket.

The city also relies heavily on federal funding for major resiliency projects, including seawalls and beach restoration. Cuts to that funding could significantly weaken our defenses.

"A lot of innovative adaptation relies on the federal government," said Freudenberg. "We have to look ahead and try and ask ourselves if we can finish these projects and whether there will be enough funding without the federal government."

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(Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

Can the New York National Guard save us?

Despite the made-for-Hollywood scenario of street warfare between the U.S. Army and the state's National Guard, this cannot happen. "The federal government has authority. It ultimately could call the state and national guard into federal service," explains Loffredo.

The most famous instance of a national guard being ordered to be defy the federal government occurred in 1957, when Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called up the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the court-ordered integration of public schools in Little Rock. In response, President Eisenhower federalized the guard, ordering them to enforce the court order.

Still breathing?

It's a scary time, but the world isn't ending. If you're not likely to face immediate danger under a Trump administration, help those who are. There are numerous organizations doing good work. And here are some tips on resisting the Trumpocracy.

Take a moment to secure your digital life. Resources here and here. The government is already spying on us and you can bet this will get worse.