Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday threatened to strip some “sanctuary cities” of coveted Justice Department grants for state and local law enforcement, saying those places that did not comply with a particular federal law on immigration would not be eligible for money.
“I urge our nation’s states and cities to consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws, and to rethink these policies,” Sessions said from the White House. “Such policies make their cities and states less safe, and put them at risk of losing valuable federal dollars.”
Sessions’s announcement follows President Trump’s executive order in January that gave the attorney general the authority to sanction any city that doesn’t readily hand over undocumented immigrants for deportation.
This effort to punish cities where local leaders refuse to hand over undocumented immigrants for deportation is the latest effort by the Trump administration to crack down on illegal immigration.
Sessions said the Justice Department will take steps to “claw back any funds awarded to a jurisdiction” that violates federal law. The Justice Department will award more than $4.1 billion in grants to state and local jurisdictions this fiscal year.
Sessions said jurisdictions would not be eligible for grant money if they could not certify compliance with a law against blocking the sharing of information about a person’s immigration status with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.