Sanctuary cities vow court battle after Trump administration threat

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday took aim at sanctuary cities, saying such communities must end and that his Department of Justice would deprive them of federal grants-a move that prompted the NY attorney general to vow his continued resolution in resisting the Trump administration's "draconian policies".

Murray, along with city attorney Pete Holmes announced that the goal of the lawsuit is to have the January 25 executive order - that threatens to pull funding from cities and counties that don't assist federal immigration authorities in certain ways - ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, right, accompanied by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, talks to the media during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, March 27, 2017.

Sessions' Monday comments re-committing to the crackdown prompted sanctuary cities to renew their promise to fight back.

But the Trump administration has argued that sanctuary cities also offer safety from deportation for undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

The push to use funding as a way to force cities to crack down on illegal immigration could affect 118 jurisdictions - that's how many cities and counties ICE recently said had rejected requests to detain immigrants.

Rep. Jayapal believes the courts are unlikely to uphold Sessions' threat to cut billions of dollars of federal grants and aid to sanctuary cities. Seattle's lawsuit also asserts that the directive violates the Constitution's Taxing and Spending Clause by holding funds that aren't directly related to immigration enforcement, the Seattle Times reported.

She spoke during a gathering of municipal leaders from cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Chicago and Philadelphia. But this action from Sessions is not as broad as he and Trump likely want us to believe.

Seattle's lawsuit argues that Trump's order is not only unconstitutional, but also unsafe and unfair to the inhabitants of the more than 100 cities that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement recognize as having sanctuary status. Sessions said the cities are making their communities unsafe.

Titled "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, it said such jurisdictions "have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our republic".

Explaining part of the potential legal fight, Karson adds, "Legal experts say the Constitution's 10th Amendment forbids the feds from "commandeering" state and local governments to enforce federal mandates".

Sessions' message came days after the administration released a report on local jails that listed more than 200 cases of immigrants released from custody before federal agents could intervene.

"Let me be clear about the president's executive order: It is violating the law".

Meanwhile, municipal leaders gathered in NY vowed to defy Trump's crackdown as they gathered for a small conference that attracted officials from cities including San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Philadelphia and NY.

  • Larry Hoffman