Although "sanctuary city" is not technically a legal term, the phrase has begun to refer to a handful of urban areas that plan to openly disobey the White House's orders on immigration. Now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions (who has faced considerable criticism for his outdated ideas on race) has announced his plan to punish the cities that do not comply with White House decrees in the form of removing federal funding from certain districts.
The New York Times loosely defined a "sanctuary city" as locations in which police "do not ask about a person’s immigration status..."
“Such policies make their cities and states less safe,” said Sessions duuring a White House briefing. “Public safety as well as national security are at stake, and put them at risk of losing federal dollars.” His assertions were made despite statistical evidence that suggests that immigration makes cities more safe, not less.
The potential financial burden that could be incurred by the loss of federal funding in areas like New York, California, and Chicago could be truly devastating. Sessions' announcement proclaimed that $4.1 billion dollars worth of grant money from the Department of Justice would be re-directed to cities compliant with Trump's orders.
"Despite what Attorney General Sessions implied this afternoon, state and local governments and law enforcement have broad authority under the Constitution to not participate in federal immigration enforcement," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. "As my office's legal guidance makes clear, President Trump lacks the constitutional authority to broadly cut off funding to states and cities just because they have lawfully acted to protect immigrant families. Public safety depends on trust between law enforcement and those they bravely serve; yet, again and again, President Trump's draconian policies only serve to undercut that trust."
"I want to make very clear," echoed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "We are going to stay a sanctuary city."
[Photo: Getty Images]