3 key takeaways from Jeff Sessions' harrowing Monday press conference

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28 March, 2017

So-called "sanctuary cities" that refuse to comply with immigration law will have federal funding taken away if they don't reverse their policies, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned Monday.

"I strongly urge our nation's states and cities and counties to consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws, and to rethink such policies", the attorney general said. "Moreover, the Department of Justice will require jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department grants to certify compliance with Section 1373 as a condition for receiving these awards", Sessions said.

During the Obama administration, he continued, the guidance made it clear that failure to remedy the violations could result in withholding or terminating trants and stopping future grants from being awarded.

Adler said the increasing attention to "sanctuary" jurisdictions may discourage undocumented immigrants from reporting crimes out of fear they could be deported, but said that the City of Austin doesn't now honor warrantless detainer requests.

"Public safety as well as national security are at stake and put them at risk of losing federal dollars", Sessions said, in a surprise appearance at Monday's White House briefing. "This expectation is reasonable, just, and our government has the duty to meet it, and we will meet it". A number of school districts around the country have filed a lawsuit in an effort to get ahead of funding cuts.

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Sessions' message came days after the administration released a report on local jails that listed more than 200 cases of immigrants released from custody before federal agents could intervene.

The report listed several NY municipalities counties that have enacted policies to limit cooperation with the federal government on immigration policy, including Ithaca, Franklin and St. Lawrence counties in northern NY and Wayne County outside Rochester.

He gave as an example Kate Steinle, who was shot to death in San Francisco two years ago by illegal immigrant Francisco Sanchez, who had already been deported five times and had seven felony convictions.

Sanctuary cities include New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as many smaller municipalities.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Schneiderman vowed to protect the rights of its immigrant population, particularly after President Trump issued a order in January condemning "sanctuary cities".


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