Sessions Targets Sanctuary Cities As He Faces Pressure From The White House

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced restrictions on federal grants Tuesday in order to limit giving funds to sanctuary cities as he faces continued pressure from President Donald Trump.

A Department of Justice official told reporters that recipients of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program for fiscal year 2017 will have to comply with a law that mandates the sharing of immigration information to federal officials. It would also permit Department of Homeland Security officials access to detention facilities to meet with immigrants and notify DHS 48 hours prior to release of an immigrant that DHS wants to detain.

Around $380 million is given by the federal government to local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies through this grant.

“So-called ‘sanctuary’ policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes,” Sessions said in a statement. “These policies also encourage illegal immigration and even human trafficking by perpetuating the lie that in certain cities, illegal aliens can live outside the law.  This can have tragic consequences, like the 10 deaths we saw in San Antonio this weekend. As part of accomplishing the Department of Justice’s top priority of reducing violent crime, we must encourage these ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions to change their policies and partner with federal law enforcement to remove criminals.”

The move from Sessions comes as Trump has called the attorney general “beleaguered” and “very weak” on several issues. The president told The New York Times last week that he wouldn’t have nominated Sessions if he knew that the attorney general would have recused himself from the investigation into Russian election interference due to Sessions’s role on the campaign.

Trump told The Wall Street Journal Tuesday that is “looking” at whether he will dismiss Sessions. A source close to the attorney general has continued to tell The Daily Caller that Sessions will not step down and will continue to focus on his job.