Immigration continues to be among the most hotly contested issues in American politics. While the White House has faced challenges gathering support in Congress, President Trump is seeking to enact some aspects of his immigration agenda through the Justice Department.
According to Fox News, the Justice Department on Thursday gave a “last chance” warning to cities that have adopted “sanctuary” policies, urging them to fully cooperate with federal immigration officials.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his Justice Department have identified five jurisdictions as being in defiance of an immigration statute that bars local law enforcement from restricting the sharing of information with federal officials.
The jurisdictions are Chicago, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia and Cook County, Ill. A May 2016 Inspector General’s report had originally included Milwaukee and the state of Connecticut on the list, but the Justice Department cleared them on Thursday.
For Sessions, sanctuary cities “adopt the view that the protection of criminal aliens is more important than the protection of law-abiding citizens and of the rule of law.” The Attorney General also described his department’s stance as being motivated by a concern for the “safety” of Americans.
“I urge all jurisdictions found to be out of compliance in this preliminary review to reconsider their policies that undermine the safety of their residents,” Sessions wrote in a statement.
In July, Sessions announced restrictions on federal law enforcement grants in order to force local compliance with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), as reported by Breitbart.
The restrictions would cut law enforcement grants to jurisdictions who fail to allow Department of Homeland Security agents to enter jails and prisons to perform immigration status checks, and fail to provide federal officials with a 48-hour notice before releasing from jail an illegal immigrant subject to a detainer.
Chicago has maintained its opposition to the Justice Department’s requests. The city sued the Justice Department, leading to a federal court blocking Sessions from withholding grants from sanctuary cities for now. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) called the court’s ruling “an affirmation of the rule of law,” as well as a “clear rejection of the false choice that the Trump Justice Department wanted Chicago to make between our values, our principles and our priorities.”
The Justice Department on Thursday gave a “last chance” warning to cities that have adopted “sanctuary” policies, urging them to fully cooperate with federal immigration officials. Do you agree with withholding funds?
But Sessions is making clear he expects sanctuary jurisdictions to comply by October 27. During that time, the cities and counties in question must “provide additional evidence that the interpretation and application of their laws, policies, or practices comply with the statute.” Ultimately, the legal battle is likely to be determined by the courts.
As The Washington Times noted, President Trump sent Congress a 70-point immigration proposal that, among other measures, calls for a border wall, E-verify, a crackdown on sanctuary cities, an end to chain migration, and more border patrol agents.
Although Congress has been slow to act on the immigration proposals on which Trump won the presidential election, the Executive Branch is making headway in fulfilling its campaign promises by carrying out the laws already on the books. As The Washington Examiner reports, illegal immigration has dropped under the Trump administration due to stricter enforcement.