U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has made going after so-called sanctuary cities a cornerstone of his tenure, sent a letter Friday to California correctional leaders threatening to cut off $18 million a year in public safety grants if the state can't prove it is cooperating with federal immigration law.
It was one of nine letters sent to jurisdictions across the nation on Friday with policies that restrict local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration actions. The letter asks the California Board of State and Community Corrections -- an agency in the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation that oversees an $18 million a year federal grant program -- to prove by June 30 that the state complies with a federal law that requires local governments to communicate with federal immigration officials about the immigration status of people they come in contact with.
"Many of these jurisdictions are ... crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime," the Justice Department said in a news release, despite the fact that violent crime rates in the U.S. are near record lows.
The news release also stated, "Just several weeks ago in California’s Bay Area, after a raid captured 11 MS-13 members on charges including murder, extortion and drug trafficking, city officials seemed more concerned with reassuring illegal immigrants that the raid was unrelated to immigration than with warning other MS-13 members that they were next."