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AG Jeff Sessions takes aim at sanctuary cities - here's what he just announced

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a press conference at the US Justice Department on March 2, 2017, in Washington DC. Monday Sessions announced actions the administration would take against sanctuary cities. Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions surprised the media with an unannounced appearance at a press conference to pound on sanctuary cities and explain what measures the Trump administration will take against them.

"The president has rightly said, 'disregard for law must end,'" Sessions offered. "In his executive order, he stated that it is the policy of the executive branch to ensure that states and cities comply with all federal laws, including immigration law."

"Today, I'm urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws," he announced, "including 8 U.S. Code § 1373. Moreover the Justice Department will require that jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department of Justice grants to certify compliance with 13.73 as a condition of receiving those awards."

Sessions cited the Kate Steinle case, where a woman was shot and killed in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant who said he had sought out the city because of its sanctuary city policies.

"The American people are not happy with these results," he added. "They know that when cities and states refuse to help enforce immigration laws our nation is less safe. Failure to deport aliens who are convicted of criminal offenses puts whole communities at risk, especially immigrant communities in the very sanctuary jurisdictions that seek to protect the perpetrators. DUIs, assaults, burglaries, drug crimes, drug rapes, crimes against children, and murders - countless Americans would be alive today and countless loved ones would not be grieving today, if these policies of sanctuary cities were ended."

ABC reported that in the current fiscal year, this action could affect as much as $4.1 billion in grants that are set to be dispersed by the Department of Justice.

Abolishing sanctuary cities was one of President Trump's constant promises at campaign rallies, and it was the focus one of the first executive orders from the White House of his term. Some cities have protested, including Los Angeles, whose mayor issued his own executive order that expanded sanctuary city policies to all city employees, commanding them to not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Border officials have credited Trump's tough rhetoric for the "unprecedented" drop in illegal border crossings already measured.

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