With the president threatening to withhold federal grants and funds to cities that refuse cooperation, big city mayors and immigration activists are trying their level best to push back at the administration’s attempts to make good of one of President Trump’s major campaign promises.
Cities refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities start feeling the Trump administration’s wrath. What is being seen as a move to put public pressure on sanctuary cities, the Department of Homeland Security released its first report on Monday, listing jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities.
The report lists counties and cities that refused requests from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain individuals even though they could have been released under normal circumstances.
Sanctuary cities are used to describe communities that refuse to work with ICE officials after detaining illegal immigrants. According to federal law, they are required to inform the feds whenever they have an illegal immigrant in custody, even if he or she is not guilty of any crime.
While the US Conference of Mayors (USCM) questioned the truthfulness of ICE detainers and the DHS report on Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday had already sent out a warning, saying, “Failure to deport aliens who are convicted of criminal offenses puts whole communities at risk, especially immigrant communities in the very sanctuary jurisdictions that seek to protect the perpetrators.”
Sessions’ statement, at a White House press briefing, sent a strong message to the nation that the Trump administration is indeed serious about its actions against illegal immigrants. The president’s team hopes to make its case against sanctuary cities with stats and anecdotes, clearly showing that it is the local government policies that are putting the lives of Americans at risk.
The White House has shown no sign of backing off the tough campaign promise Trump made. Weeks before Sessions’ warning that the Department of Justice would cut off federal funding to cities that refuse to cooperate, the Department of Homeland Security started publishing a list of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
Supporters of the new policies hailed Sessions’ declaration.
“It’s very refreshing that under the Trump administration policies the public is now able to find out exactly what kind of individuals are being protected from immigration enforcement and released by the sanctuaries,” said Jessica Vaughan, of the Center for Immigration Studies. “The public now can hold their local officials accountable for the sanctuary policy.”
Several big cities, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as dozens and possibly hundreds of smaller counties, cities and towns, also have refused to notify ICE, which can then come and take custody of the illegal immigrant, possibly for deportation.