CityPaper | By Edward Ericson, Jr. March 27, 2017
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced today he will withhold federal funds from cities and states that do not certify that they are not "sanctuary" jurisdictions. At stake is more than $4 billion in federal aid to law enforcement.
"Countless Americans would be alive today," Sessions told reporters in a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room, "if these policies of sanctuary cities were ended."
Sessions addressed Maryland directly, saying a legislative effort to make a sanctuary state "would be such a mistake."
Gov. Larry Hogan called that state bill "absurd" and threatened a veto last Monday, March 20. But just a day later, mayors in seven cities in four states held a telephone press conference to declare their own legal defiance of federal immigration officials.
The press conference was part of a "day of action" by the U.S. Conference of Mayors to call for comprehensive immigration reform. The conference also decried ICE's first-ever "Weekly Declined Detainer Outcome Report," published on March 20. It is a listing of incidents in which criminal aliens were released by local jurisdictions despite ICE's request they be held.
The report says ICE issued 3,083 detainers between Jan. 28 and Feb. 3. This figure will increase, the report says, because "ICE offices have been instructed to resume issuing detainers on all removable aliens in a [law enforcement agency's] custody regardless of prior non-cooperation."
A chart listed 206 detainers as "declined," including a single Baltimore case in which a person wanted by ICE was released from a county jail despite the detainer. The detainer was issued last October, and declined on Feb. 1. The person released was Mexican, charged with drug trafficking.
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