Justice Department

Sessions Threatens to Cut Funding for Defiant Sanctuary Cities

If sanctuary cities continue not to cooperate with the Department of Justice’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said these cities will no longer receive federal grants.

At the White House press briefing Monday, Sessions said “the agency would not give grants to cities and counties that don't turn over undocumented immigrants to federal authorities and would seek to ‘claw back’ any past grants,” reports Time.

"We intend to use all the lawful authority we have to make sure our state and local officials who are so important to law enforcement are in sync with the federal government," Sessions said.

Sanctuary cities – jurisdictions where local police won’t hold undocumented immigrants, unless they commit a serious crime, for federal immigration agents – risk losing withholding Department of Justice grants, which are expected to total more than $4.1 billion this year.

In January, President Trump signed an executive order stating that federal funding could be denied any jurisdiction that refused to turn over unauthorized immigrants for deportation.

But on Monday, Sessions spoke only about Sessions said that in one week there had been more than 200 instances of jurisdictions refusing to honor ICE detainer requests, including in cases where people had been charged with crimes such as murder and sexual offenses against children.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in California described his comments as fear-mongering.

“There is absolutely no basis for the attorney general’s arguments that immigrant-welcoming cities and states are less safe,” the organization said in a statement.

Officials in sanctuary cities have refuted the administration's position that they are violating federal laws.

“We do not harbor criminals,” Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera said in a statement, adding that the city had used Department of Justice grants in the past to buy bulletproof vests for officers and to upgrade radios in cruisers. In February, Lawrence and Chelsea sued to seek a judicial order that they are not in violation of federal law and cannot be punished for establishing themselves as sanctuary cities.

Posted in General News

Tags: ICE, Justice Department, Jeff Sessions, sanctuary cities

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