Justice Dept. rules intensify crackdown on sanctuary cities

Foreign nationals were arrested during the week of February 6, 2017, during a targeted enforcement operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) aimed at immigration fugitives, re-entrants and at-large criminal aliens. Full credit: Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

WASHINGTON —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.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions unrolled the new conditions Tuesday, July 25th, 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.

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

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 President Trump had bonded during the campaign, largely over shared hardline views on illegal immigration.