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Justice Department Rules Intensify Crackdown On Sanctuary Cities

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia, Friday, July 21, 2017.
Associated Press
Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia, Friday, July 21, 2017.
Justice Department Rules Intensify Crackdown On Sanctuary Cities
Justice Department Rules Intensify Crackdown On Sanctuary Cities GUEST: Kevin de León, California Senate president pro tem, D-Los Angeles

The US Department of Justice announced rules barring sanctuary cities from a specific federal law enforcement grant program. Reports have noted that the Justice assistance Grant provides less than one half of 1% of grants to governments. It is the first step the Trump administration has taken towards the crackdown on sanctuary cities. Efforts are to declare Katter -- California a sanctuary state. That may threaten additional funds, including those that come to San Diego. Kevin is the president attempt. Welcome.Thank you for inviting me.Let me get your reaction to the new policy on sanctuary cities.I think this is another attempt from the Trump administration to undermine the federal system of government. This gun to the head approach of blackmail, they force immigration authority into our facilities to racially profile, we are examining the 2017 Brian Jag solicitation. We will ensure that California receives its fair share of federal dollars. I have to be honest and clear. The Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has a perverse fixation, almost a of session when it comes to breaking up families. We are not talking about the hardened criminals or the violent felons. Or serious criminals. We are talking about working families in Logan Heights or elsewhere who he has a clear fixation on. It is un-American. It is not who we are.Is the state considering launching a legal fight?I know we have had two counties, Santa Clara as well as San Francisco move forward with litigation. Those cases have been one but they will be appealed in the federal court. We are exercising our options. The first priority is to make sure our communities are safe. It does not make a difference if you are from Mission Hills, everyone deserves to live in a safe community. We want individuals out of the neighborhoods you are serious and criminal violent felons. What this administration is doing that is drastically different from up Barack Obama or George W. Bush. They are focusing on individuals who have no crime histories whatsoever, not even misdemeanors. We are exploring these options. We want it safer. If you have families who are fearful of calling the police to report a crime or they are a victim of crime.You introduced a bill that would make California a century state. That definition has been a little bit fuzzy. What exactly would your bill do.You are right.That is a nebulous definition. I do not believe it exists. On the far right, it is highly charged political term. It is misleading that cities or states are providing sanctuary. It would ensure the local police offers others officers continue to service the neighborhoods and not be an extension of the Trump deportation machine. We do not want to be double taxes us. At the same time, they are acting as a functionary of the Department of Justice and Donald J Trump. There is a higher law -- firewall between the federal government and the local government when it comes to protecting communities.What is the status of your bill expect the measure has passed the California State Senate. It is in the California State assembly. If we can get it passed on the assembly floor, it will come back. I will engage with the governor.Now that the federal government is starting to go through with the threat of a crackdown and is withholding funds from sanctuary cities, do you think you will see a softening of support for the state idea ?This is about our values. Where the six largest economy in the world. That is what make -- makes California the greatest state and arrow. Our resolve is stronger than before. Our values cannot be compromised. We want to keep our community safe but at the same time, we are not going to react to a approach by them withholding dollars. To use local police officers as a bargaining chip is reprehensible and it is un-American.One of the identifiers that the DH -- DOJ is using, they do not allow immigrations officials inside jails. See Nico County Sheriff Department does has custom enforcement agents in the jails. Would your sanctuary state bill ProHIBiT IC presence ?No. They could come to any jail they want, provided they have a judicial warrant. They can secure that with a federal judge. They know who they want in the jail. We do not prohibit them from entering the jail. They have to have a warrant. That protects the nanny who takes chair -- here the child who has never committed a crime but perhaps has been cut up because she has a broken tail light. We want to make sure we protect hard-working people and make sure those who are hardened criminals, that we remove them as quickly as possible.In San Diego County jails, ICE agents set up offices within the jails. Would your bill ProHIBiT that ?That would prohibit that. We want to make sure they have a warrant identifying who they want because when they do go into the jails and pick up who they what, it is a bad person, not a hard-working mother or father who pays their taxes were is waiting to become an American citizen. They were remove them and US-born children stay in the system for social services. That is not acceptable.There are many communities in California which do not support the sanctuary idea. Is it that best to leave that up to the local jurisdictions ?No. We are the Golden State. We do not want a hodgepodge quilt of loss. The reality is this. I am not providing sanctuary. That is a term that is used by the media. There is no invisible force shield. You can be walking down downtown San Diego and if you are in document and I CE pulls you over and they can detain you and deport you. This does not protect you from that but it make sure that law enforcement officers are not utilized to enforce federal immigration law. That is the responsible responsibility of the federal government. Our officers will do their job by serving and protecting the committee.I have been speaking with Dave. Thank you.Thank you.

The Justice Department says it won't give cities some law enforcement grant money unless they give federal immigration authorities access to jails and alert them when someone facing deportation will be released from local custody.

RELATED: Justice Department Narrows Scope Of ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Executive Order

Attorney General Jeff Sessions unrolled the new conditions Tuesday, escalating his promised crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities. Under old rules, cities seeking grant money needed only to show that they weren't prohibiting local law enforcement from communicating with immigration authorities.

RELATED: San Diego Area Mayors Organize Opposition To ‘Sanctuary State’ Bill

Police use the money for everything from bulletproof vests to body cameras.

RELATED: Rep. Hunter Wants To Withhold Student Aid From Sanctuary Campuses—Can He Do That?

Sessions unveiled the policy amid speculation about whether he will retain his job following President Donald Trump's blistering public criticism for recusing himself from the Russia probe. Sessions and Trump had bonded during the campaign, largely over shared hardline views on illegal immigration.