Jeff Sessions, Justice Department Warn 'Sanctuary Cities' Grant Money Is At Risk Justice Department officials are demanding proof that cities receiving millions in law enforcement grants are complying with federal immigration law.
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Justice Department Warns 'Sanctuary Cities,' With Grant Money At Risk

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Justice Department Warns 'Sanctuary Cities,' With Grant Money At Risk

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Justice Department Warns 'Sanctuary Cities,' With Grant Money At Risk

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Here in the United States, the Justice Department is putting more pressure on what are sometimes called sanctuary cities. Officials have sent letters to eight cities that receive millions of dollars in law enforcement grants, and they are demanding proof that those cities comply with U.S. immigration law. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: If cities fail to provide proof they're helping federal immigration authorities, the U.S. Justice Department could try to claw back old grant money or put cities on a blacklist that makes them ineligible to win new federal dollars. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who's touring the southwest border this week, explained his thinking on MSNBC.

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JEFF SESSIONS: I would say to the leaders of these cities, please review what you're doing. I say to the voters in those cities, ask your leadership why it is that they don't want to remove dangerous criminals from your community and cooperate with federal law enforcement and why federal law enforcement should cooperate with cities that don't cooperate with them.

JOHNSON: The new Justice Department letters went out to these cities - Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Miami, Milwaukee, New York and Sacramento. Sessions says it's, quote, "unthinkable" to him that some cities won't cooperate, and he's giving them a deadline at the end of June.

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SESSIONS: So I hope we don't end into a fight, but we're perfectly willing to do whatever I can to ensure that we have the kind of unified effort that protects America.

JOHNSON: Sessions links immigration to a host of social problems, including what he calls a rise in crime. While murders and violence are up in some big cities like Chicago, overall crime remains near historic lows. Criminologists point out studies that suggest immigrants commit fewer crimes than U.S.-born citizens. The clash between the feds and local police worries some law enforcement veterans. Miriam Krinsky is a former Justice Department lawyer.

MIRIAM KRINSKY: It's creating a very difficult scenario because within any community, federal agencies and state and local agencies know each other. And they're used to cooperating with each other, and they trust each other. Those relationships of trust have built up over years.

JOHNSON: It won't take much, she says, for those bonds to fray. Carrie Johnson, NPR News, Washington.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now a correction. Yesterday we reported that the Chinese government had quickly granted Ivanka Trump new trademark rights for her fashion line, and we referred to her as a paid adviser to her father. That's not correct. Ivanka Trump is an adviser to the president, but she is not taking a salary for that work.

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