Attorney General Jeff Sessions joined Sean Spicer at the daily White House press briefing on Monday, reminding local governments in "sanctuary cities" that the Department of Justice will deny funding to jurisdictions who are not in compliance with federal immigration law, the Washington Post reports.
“I strongly urge our nation’s states and cities and counties to consider carefully the harm they are doing to our citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws, and to rethink these policies,” Sessions said. "Such policies make their cities and states less safe, and put them at risk of losing valuable federal dollars.”
Sessions said that jurisdictions who refused to cooperate would be denied federal grant money and that the government would “claw back any funds awarded to a jurisdiction” that is not enforcing federal law.
Sanctuary cities offer safe haven to undocumented immigrants and have pledged not to aid the federal government in deportations. Law enforcement officers in these sanctuary jurisdictions are not required to ask about immigration status. There are more than 140 sanctuary jurisdictions in the United States, including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.
Sessions's statement followed Trump's executive order on illegal immigration in January, which gave the attorney general the power to take action against jurisdictions that did not comply with federal immigration law. Since the order, Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been given increasing power to detain and deport immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.