Assets Justice Dept threatens sanctuary cities
The Trump administration has intensified its threats to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration authorities, sending letters yesterday to nine jurisdictions, warning that it would withhold coveted law-enforcement grant money unless they document cooperation.
The letters went to officials in California and in major cities including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans, all places the Justice Department's inspector general has identified as limiting the information local law enforcement can provide to federal immigration authorities about those in their custody.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has increasingly warned that the administration will punish communities that refuse to cooperate with efforts to find and deport immigrants in the country illegally.
In a statement yesterday, the Justice Department said the recipients of its letters are "crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime".
After a raid led to the arrests of 11 MS-13 gang members in California's Bay Area, "city officials seemed more concerned with reassuring illegal immigrants that the raid was unrelated to immigration than with warning other MS-13 members that they were next", the department said.
The federal law in question says state and local governments may not prohibit police or sheriffs from sharing information about a person's immigration status with federal authorities. Yesterday's letters warn officials that they must provide proof from an attorney that they are following the law or risk losing thousands of dollars in federal grant money that police agencies use to pay for anything from body cameras to bulletproof vests.