NEW YORK — Attorney General Jeff Sessions says cities that refuse to share information with federal immigration authorities show a disrespect for the rule of law that is jeopardizing the “most fundamental duty of government” — ensuring public safety.
Sessions planned to highlight cities that co-operate with federal immigration officials during a visit Wednesday to Miami. He is to be accompanied by Tom Homan, acting director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Miami-Dade County earlier this year reversed its “sanctuary city” policy, saying the county would honour requests to hold people for extra time so they can be arrested by immigration authorities. Local officials defended the decision, saying they wanted to keep receiving Justice Department grants for community policing.
Both President Donald Trump and Sessions have threatened to end such funding for so-called sanctuary cities, which are broadly defined as places that limit co-operation with federal immigration authorities. Trump says such jurisdictions provide a haven for criminal activity. Cities say such immigrant-friendly policies actually enhance public safety.
The attorney general planned in a speech Wednesday to contrast Miami’s example with cities like Chicago, which is suing the federal government over the funding threats.
“Miami-Dade is an example of what is possible through hard work and a rededication to the rule of law. It is proof that the entire nation can do better,” Sessions says in speech excerpts obtained by The Associated Press. “The most fundamental duty of government is to ensure the safety and liberty of its people.”
“Respect for the rule of law has broken down,” Session says. “In Chicago, their so-called “sanctuary” policies are just one sad example.”