Attorney General Jeff Sessions urged sanctuary jurisdictions to reverse their policies Monday as the Department of Justice will begin to "claw back" federal grants from places that ignore immigration detainers. "The governor is opposed to that, I'm glad to hear", Sessions said.
"Such policies make their cities and states less safe", said Sessions.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivers remarks during the daily White House press briefing on Monday.
"The Department of Justice will require that jurisdictions seeking or applying for DOJ grants to certify compliance with [U.S. Code 1373] as a condition of receiving those awards", he said, referring to a U.S. law which says cities can not prevent federal authorities from enforcing immigration laws.
He hinted at legal action, calling this a gun to the head method to force cities and counties to participate in mass deportations that he says is unconstitutional and will fail, adding that sanctuary policies make cities and counties safer.
Sessions urged sanctuary cities to consider the damage they're doing to national security and public safety by refusing to enforce immigration laws, according to ABC News.
In Chelsea, a sanctuary city where the population is 44 percent foreign-born, City Manager Thomas Ambrosino struck a defiant tone against Sessions's comments. "They make our nation less safe by putting unsafe criminals back on the streets", Sessions told reporters. This policy is entirely consistent with the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs guidance that was issued just last summer under the previous administration.
President Donald Trump in January signed an executive order seeking to withhold federal funds from local governments that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
The Maryland measure was in line with dozens of municipalities and local jurisdictions across the country that have declared themselves sanctuary cities, including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington.
A recent Harvard-Harris poll shows 80 percent of Americans believe local authorities should comply with federal immigration agents by detaining and turning over criminal aliens.