The Department of Justice sent nearly two dozen letters Wednesday to cities and counties across the country—ranging from Jackson, Mississippi and West Palm Beach, Florida to the states of Illinois and Oregon—threatening to issue subpoenas if those jurisdictions don’t provide the DOJ with documents proving that they comply with the Trump administration’s anti-sanctuary city policies.
In July, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the DOJ would no longer provide certain grants (including the “Byrne JAG” grant) to jurisdictions that don’t give federal authorities access to immigration detention facilities. The letters were an unsubtle reminder to those jurisdictions that the DOJ won’t allocate funding to them should they refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement officials.
“So-called ‘sanctuary’ policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes,” Sessions said at the time. “These policies also encourage illegal immigration and even human trafficking by perpetuating the lie that in certain cities, illegal aliens can live outside the law.”
The Washington Examiner reports that all 23 jurisdictions have “received some sort of communication before from [the DOJ] about their policies and procedures, and how they could possibly be in violation of the federal statute.”
In response to the letters, dozens of mayors across the country declined to attend President Trump’s mayoral conference Wednesday afternoon. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the DOJ letter a “racist attack,” the New York Daily News reported, and expressed contempt for “[this] publicity stunt from Trump.”
“On the very day where in principle they were telling us they wanted to have an honest dialogue, this proves there was no intention to have an honest dialogue,” de Blasio reportedly said.