MIAMI (AP) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed Wednesday to continue fighting cities, like Portland and Chicago, that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities until local governments follow Miami-Dade County’s example and reverse policies.
Sessions aimed much of his frustration at Chicago, which last week sued President Donald Trump’s administration for denying federal grant money to cities that don’t share information with immigration officials.
“This state of lawlessness allows gangs to smuggle guns, drugs, and even humans, across borders and around cities and communities. Sanctuary jurisdictions provide safe harbor for some of the most dangerous criminals in our country,” Sessions said at an event in the Port of Miami.
Sessions applauded Miami-Dade’s decision to comply with Trump’s immigration orders by ordering county officials earlier this year to hold people in jail for extra time if immigration authorities requested them. County mayor Carlos Gimenez reversed a 2013 policy that refused such requests unless the federal government committed to pay for jail costs. In justifying the decision, the Republican mayor said he didn’t want to risk losing federal funding.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Trump’s administration is “wrong morally, wrong factually and wrong legally” as it threatens to end funding for the so-called sanctuary cities.
Sessions contrasted Miami-Dade and Chicago’s crime statistics and accused the Midwestern city of failing to solve many of its slayings.
“Respect for the rule of law has broken down. In Chicago, their so-called ‘sanctuary’ policies are one sad example,” he said.
While Sessions called Miami-Dade a “good” example of a city in compliance, when compared to 2016 numbers, the county’s police department has reported a 3 percent increase in violent crime, including 17 percent more homicides between January and early August.