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Department of Justice Threatens Sanctuary Cities

The Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter on Wednesday to 23 cities and three states—California, Illinois, and Oregon—demanding that they provide documents proving their local law enforcement's compliance with federal immigration authorities, Reuters reports.

In a written statement following the order, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called on states to "reconsider policies that place the safety of their communities and their residents at risk."

Failure to provide documents in a timely manner could result in legal action from the federal government against the cities and states in question. An anonymous senior official with the Department of Justice told Reuters that a lack of compliance could result in official "subpoenas for the information."

This move is a continuation of the administration's long battle with sanctuary cities. Last year, both Sessions and President Donald Trump threatened to withhold millions of federal dollars in assistance from sanctuary areas that continued to be non-compliant with immigration enforcement agencies.

Following the DOJ's announcement, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted:

The idea that sanctuary cities are a danger to residents has largely proven to be a myth. A recent study shows that immigrants in sanctuary cities are less likely to engage in violent crime than those in non-sanctuary cities, and that the designation may actually lend itself to greater political participation.