Cities Respond to Attorney General’s Plan to Penalize “Sanctuary Cities”

March 27, 2017 - (2 min read)

WASHINGTON — March 27, 2017 — Attorney General Jeff Sessions today announced a plan to require cities applying for Department of Justice grants to certify their compliance with federal law, including Section 1373 of the U.S. Code. Section 1373 prohibits localities from obstructing federal immigration enforcement, but does not require those jurisdictions to perform the duties of federal immigration agents. In response to today’s announcement, National League of Cities (NLC) President Matt Zone, councilmember, Cleveland, released the following statement:

“Today, Attorney General Sessions announced a plan to withhold Department of Justice funding from certain cities. As we’ve said many times before, these so-called “sanctuary cities” are already in full compliance with federal immigration law, and have committed no violation of the U.S. Code.

“If the federal government is unable to enforce the nation’s broken immigration laws, it should not attempt to shift that burden onto cities. This plan attacks cities by imposing a needless burden on local police forces, and could unjustly penalize innocent residents receiving federal grants — including the victims of the Pulse nightclub tragedy in Orlando.

“Instead of pursuing this plan, the administration should work with local governments to fix the nation’s broken immigration system. Immigration reform should respect the principles of local control, enforce current law effectively and create a process where undocumented immigrants currently living in our cities may earn legalized status.”

More information about immigration reform in cities can be found here.



The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people across the country. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.