WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced late on Tuesday that there are now new guidelines that so-called “Sanctuary Cities” must meet if they are to receive federal law enforcement grants. Among these are the requirements that the cities must completely open their jails to federal immigration authorities and alert the proper departments when someone eligible for deportation is released.
“This is what the American people should be able to expect from their cities and states,” Sessions said. “And these long overdue requirements will help us take down MS-13 and other violent transnational gangs, and make our country safer.”
Both Sessions and President Donald Trump have long been critical of Sanctuary Cities. The Department of Justice believes that by threatening funds — which are used to pay for everything from police body cameras to bulletproof vests — the behavior of localities will change.
“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. … We must encourage these `sanctuary’ jurisdictions to change their policies and partner with federal law enforcement to remove criminals.”
In February, the Birmingham City Council voted unanimously to become a sanctuary city, despite state law which prohibits cities from refusing to comply with federal directives on immigration. Gov. Bentley (R-Ala.) issued a strong rebuke of Birmingham’s decision and said that the state would not support such a venture. The federal government does not consider Birmingham a sanctuary city at this time.
The Center for Immigration Studies compiled a map of every sanctuary state, county, and city in the United States, and they are too numerous to list. A full breakdown of the sanctuary jurisdictions in the country can be seen here.