The Justice Department is ramping up its war on sanctuary cities

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
(Image credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Justice Department is ramping up its war against sanctuary cities by threatening to subpoena 23 jurisdictions that fail to hand over "any orders, directives, instructions, or guidance to your law enforcement employees" by Feb. 23, The Washington Post reports. The Justice Department additionally threatened to "repossess funds given out in the 2016 cycles and [deny] grants in the current cycle for fiscal year 2017" if the documents aren't handed over, BuzzFeed News writes.

So-called "sanctuary cities" limit cooperation with the federal government in enforcing immigration law. The Justice Department is targeting the likes of Chicago and New York City, as well as the entire states of California and Oregon, which have "sanctuary" laws at the state level.

"Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. "We have seen too many examples of the threat to public safety represented by jurisdictions that actively thwart the federal government's immigration enforcement — enough is enough."

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) responded to the Justice Department's threat by pulling out of a scheduled meeting with President Trump and other mayors on Wednesday, calling the policy a "racist assault on our immigrant communities."

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