World

US Attorney-General steps up pressure on 'sanctuary cities'

WASHINGTON: The US Attorney-General has warned US cities that turning a blind eye to illegal migrants could jeopardise billions in federal funding, as the Trump administration doubled down on tough immigration policies yesterday.

Mr Jeff Sessions demanded that "sanctuary cities" - from Boston to Chicago to Los Angeles - do more to turn illegal immigrants over to the federal authorities for deportation.

"The Department of Justice has a duty to enforce our nation's laws, including our immigration laws," he said from the White House.

"Unfortunately, some states and cities have adopted policies that frustrate this enforcement of immigration laws."

The 70-year-old former senator zeroed in on the issue of illegal immigrants who have been convicted or detained on suspicion of serious crimes.

He cited examples of those involved in "drug trafficking, hit and run, rape, sex offences against a child and murder".

"Countless Americans would be alive today and countless loved ones would not be grieving today if these policies of sanctuary cities were ended," Mr Sessions said.

Ms Deirdre Hussey, spokesman for San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, insisted that "sanctuary cities are safer cities".

"When immigrants can enrol their children in school, access healthcare for vaccinations and report crimes, our city and county is safer," she said.

"It is shocking that the Attorney-General, the nation's top law enforcement official, does not agree with this basic principle of public safety." - AFP

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