Published: Thu, March 30, 2017
Culture | By Julio Duncan

Sanctuary Cities' Promise Legal Fight After Sessions Threatens Funds

Sanctuary Cities' Promise Legal Fight After Sessions Threatens Funds

Sanctuary cities are jurisdictions with policies that prioritize the interests of criminal aliens by limiting law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration officials.

Sessions may find his ability to influence local decision-making through the Justice Department's purse to be limited, because only a fraction of the Justice Department's grant dollars flow directly to the cities and counties that determine whether to cooperate with federal immigration agents.

But many leaders in cities like NY say it's the Trump administration that's jeopardizing lives, discouraging people from cooperating with police for fear of being deported.

Sanctuary cities, such as San Francisco and NY, refuse to cooperate sometimes by not notifying Department of Homeland Security agents when illegal immigrants are being released from incarceration.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions today warned of serious consequences for cities that knowingly refuse to detain undocumented immigrants, saying they could lose federal funding for failing to cooperate with immigration authorities.

The announcement is in line with a January executive order that Trump signed shortly after taking office that directed the attorney general and the Homeland Security secretary to withhold such federal funds.

"Unfortunately, some states and cities have adopted the policies created to frustrate this enforcement of immigration laws", says U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"Local governments do not enforce federal law", said city attorney Pete Holmes.

Rodriguez supports deporting criminals but says that under the President's executive order "terrific people were harmed" noting that many parents have been deported, leaving their children behind. "We will continue to stand up against this administration' actions that promote unlawful profiling and xenophobia", she added.

He said the Trump White House could withhold or "claw back" funding from any city that "willfully violates" immigration law. "But fundamentally we intend to use all the lawful authority we have to make sure that our state and local officials, who are so important to law enforcement, are in sync with the federal government", Sessions said. But detainment policy is not included in the federal code Sessions cited Monday.

"That's what we're seeking from the courts".

Sanctuary policy has become the main point of dispute between the federal government and Democratic-controlled cities resisting the Trump administration's immigration agenda. But Murray says that not only does the looming threat present budgeting issues, it's creating urgent safety issues in the city. Arguing that the administration's warnings are unconstitutional, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said federal authorities "cannot force our local police officials to be involved in federal immigration activities".

"Chelsea feels very strongly that treating all residents regardless of their immigration status with dignity and respect is not only the appropriate policy to have but it's also the one that secures our city the most".

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