As reported by Cox Media, sanctuary cities were the topic of a presentation by Attorney General Jeff Sessions just before Sean Spicer’s regular press conference at the White House. In his statement to the press, Sessions announced the implementation of punitive measures against so-called sanctuary cities – those cities that the federal government claims are not cooperating in tracking, detaining and deporting illegal aliens.
Issue of Sanctuary Cities
A number of sanctuary cities throughout the United States – including San Francisco, New York, and others – have made it clear that they don’t intend to cooperate with the federal government’s sweeping roundup of illegal aliens. But the principled stand these cities are taking will now apparently cost them billions of dollars in what amount to retaliatory fines.
For some time now, it’s been known that Jeff Sessions was planning to punish such sanctuary cities throughout the United States, but it wasn’t entirely clear just what steps he would be taking. But his statement at the White House press conference reveals what he’s planning.
“The Department of Justice has a duty to enforce our nation’s laws, including our immigration laws. Those laws require us to promptly remove aliens when they are convicted of certain crimes… Unfortunately, some states and cities have adopted policies designed to frustrate this enforcement of immigration laws. This includes refusing to detain known felons under federal detainer request or otherwise failing to comply with these laws.”
Sessions here fails to note that many of these federal crimes being committed by illegal aliens include using a false Social Security number to get a job or lying on a job application. Instead, the Attorney General attempted to imply that all of the “criminal” illegal aliens that the Department of Justice is demanding local law enforcement roundup are dangerous and even violent criminals involved in drugs and sex crimes. As reported by Fox News, Sessions elaborated as follows.
“For example, the Department of Homeland Security recently issued a report showing that in a single week there were more than 200 instances of jurisdictions refusing to honor ICE detainer requests with respect to individuals charged or convicted of a serious crime. The charges or convictions against these aliens include drug trafficking, hit and run, rape, sex offenses against a child and even murder.”
Sessions proceeded to cherry pick a number of high profile, especially egregious instances of illegal aliens who committed crimes in San Francisco and elsewhere. He failed to note that many of the “crimes” committed by these illegal aliens – for which they should have in his view been turned over to ICE – were actually related to their attempts to stay in the United States. In short, the federal government wants local law enforcement to enforce federal law for them.
Sessions Threatens Sanctuary Cities
“Today, I am urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws, including 8 USC 1373. Moreover, the Department of Justice will require jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department of Justice grants to certify compliance… Failure to remedy violations could result in withholding grants, termination of grants and disbarment or in eligibility for future grants. The Department of Justice will also take all lawful steps to claw back any funds awarded to a jurisdiction that willfully violates 1373.”
As the above makes clear, Sessions closed his remarks by describing just what punitive measures would be taken against sanctuary cities refusing to cooperate with ICE and the federal government. The ironic thing about these measures is that they will actually make the sanctuary cities less safe for the people living in them since many of the grants targeted by Sessions with cancellation involve law enforcement programs. Moreover, the idea that the federal government will be able to browbeat state and local authorities into compliance seems unlikely to work.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]