The Justice Department announced Thursday that cities prohibiting cooperation with federal immigration officials will not be allowed to participate in a newly-created program designed to help local law enforcement.
The move is part of a continued effort by the Trump administration to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced just last week that jurisdictions will not be eligible for the $380 million available from a federal grant program if they block access to immigration information or detained immigrants.
In its announcement Thursday, the DOJ released letters sent to four local jurisdictions interested in participating in the Public Safety Partnership program. This program was announced in June and is a training and technical assistance effort.
The four jurisdictions – Albuquerque, New Mexico; Baltimore, Maryland; San Bernardino, California; and Stockton, California – will all have to answer questions about whether they have laws, rules, or policy in place that enables Department of Homeland Security personnel the ability to meet with a detained immigrant and whether they respond positively to DHS requests for notice of a release of a detained immigrant.
The attorney general said in a statement: “By protecting criminals from immigration enforcement, cities and states with so-called ‘sanctuary’ policies make all of us less safe. We saw that just last week, when an illegal alien who had been deported twenty times and was wanted by immigration authorities allegedly sexually assaulted an elderly woman in Portland, a city that refuses to cooperate with immigration enforcement.”
“The Department of Justice is committed to supporting our law enforcement at every level, and that’s why we’re asking ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions to stop making their jobs harder,” Sessions added.