California prisons warned against 'sanctuary' status

The Justice Department on Friday fired an opening shot in the Trump administration’s crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities, sending letters to nine jurisdictions asking for proof that they are cooperating with immigration enforcement, and indicating they are at risk of losing federal grants.


The letters went to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, as well as officials in Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Miami, Milwaukee, New York and Cook County, Ill.

All have laws or policies that restrict the ability of police and jails to hand over people who are in the country illegally to federal immigration officers.

READ THE LETTERS >>

The sanctuary cities were a reaction to Obama-era policies that enlisted local police in immigration enforcement. They have come under heavy attack from President Trump and Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions.

In a statement, the Justice Department said the cities are “crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime,” mentioning an increase in Chicago murders and gang violence in New York City.

“And just several weeks ago in California’s Bay Area, after a raid captured 11 MS-13 members on charges including murder, extortion and drug trafficking, city officials seemed more concerned with reassuring illegal immigrants that the raid was unrelated to immigration than with warning…

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