The announcement comes after Trump signed an executive order in January to withhold funds from those states or cities where law enforcement has little to do with enforcing federal immigration.
Without such policy, the U.S. would be “less safe by putting dangerous criminals on our streets,” according to Sessions. “Countless Americans would be alive today… and countless loved ones would not be grieving today… if the policies of these sanctuary jurisdictions were ended.”
The Department of Homeland Security released a list earlier this month, identifying 118 “sanctuary” jurisdictions across the United States. In order for cities and states to be awarded a part of the total $4.1 billion, sanctuary jurisdictions must prove they are sharing a person’s immigration status with federal immigration enforcement.
In a statement to the Washington Post, director of policy and advocacy with the National Immigration Law Center Kamal Essaheb says the announcement is a Trump administration strategy.
“In typical fashion, they are trying to manipulate the news cycle to distract and divert attention elsewhere,” wrote Essaheb.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law argued in a statement to the Post that this crackdown will “promote unlawful profiling and xenophobia.”
“Sessions seeks to create a police state in which local and state law enforcement are acting at the behest of the federal government to round up immigrants in communities across the country,” the committee wrote.