Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned Wednesday that illegal alien criminals are well aware of cities and jurisdictions that fail to cooperate with federal immigration officials, and said it’s making some parts of the U.S. less safe.
“When cities like Philadelphia, Boston or San Francisco advertise that they have these policies, the criminals take notice,” Sessions said in a speech to state and local law enforcement officers in Las Vegas. He mentioned the story of Kate Steinle, who was killed by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times and committed seven felonies.
“Her death was preventable — and it should have been prevented,” Sessions said. “He walked the streets freely because San Francisco refuses to cooperate with ICE. In fact, he admitted that one reason he was in San Francisco that day was that he knew the city had these policies in place.”
“Some 300 jurisdictions in this country refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities regarding illegal aliens who commit crimes — even MS-13 gang members. These jurisdictions are protecting criminals rather than their law-abiding residents,” Sessions said in his prepared remarks.
He made those comments roughly two weeks after the House passed the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, which would withhold federal grants to cities that adhere to so-called sanctuary policies.
Sessions has rallied against sanctuary city policies before and has made the same threat to sanctuary jurisdictions. At the end of last month, he asked for nine cities identified by an inspector general as having such policies for proof they are in legal compliance with federal immigration law.
Sessions cautioned against blaming local law enforcement officers, and said he knows “local police are not the problem.”
“The problem is that politicians have forbidden you to help. That makes all of us — and especially police officers on the front lines — less safe,” he said.