Attorney General Jeff Sessions urged sanctuary jurisdictions to reverse their policies Monday as the Department of Justice will begin to “claw back” federal grants from places that ignore immigration detainers.
Sessions highlighted a recent report from the Department of Homeland Security that showed more than 200 instances of jurisdictions failing to honor detainers in the span of just one week. The DHS also identified sanctuary jurisdictions in the report, which included New York City and all of Rhode Island’s state prisons.
The report detailed illegal immigrants who had been charged with sex crimes and murder that local jurisdictions failed to turn over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “The American people are not happy with these results,” Sessions said while speaking at the White House.
He said that he is “urging” states and local jurisdictions to comply with immigration detainers as a “condition” of receiving federal law enforcement grants. The attorney general cited DOJ programs that are anticipate to award more than $4.1 billion in the upcoming fiscal year. Sessions added that “the DOJ will take all lawful steps to claw back any funds to a jurisdiction that willingly violates 8 U.S.C. 1373.”
This statute pertains to a jurisdiction failing to give the federal government the immigration status of a detainee, but Sessions’ comments Monday suggest the DOJ interprets it differently.
Sessions pointed to a July 2016 report from the Obama administration that said many cities which don’t cooperate with ICE are ineligible to receive federal law enforcement grants, and said he is merely enforcing this measure.