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San Bernardino, Stockton, 2 Other ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Get Threats From Sessions to Stop Crime-Fighting Funding

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions gives a speech during the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) 41st annual training conference on Aug. 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Credit: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions moved Thursday to again punish so-called sanctuary cities, threatening to deny federal crime-fighting resources to four cities beset by violence if they don’t step up efforts to help detain and deport people living in the country illegally, including two agencies in California, a state that has repeatedly frustrated the administration.

The Justice Department sent letters to cities struggling with gun violence, telling them they will be ineligible for a new program that aims to root out drug trafficking and gang crime unless they give federal immigration authorities access to jails and provide advance notice before releasing someone in custody who is wanted on immigration violations. The cities — Baltimore, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Stockton and San Bernardino in California — all expressed interest in the Justice Department’s new Public Safety Partnership, which enlists federal agents, analysts and technology to help communities find solutions to crime.

“By taking simple, common-sense considerations into account, we are encouraging every jurisdiction in this country to cooperate with federal law enforcement,” Sessions said in a statement that accompanied the letters. “That will ultimately make all of us safer — especially law enforcement on our streets.”

In the letters, the department asked the four prospective cities’ police departments to show proof of their compliance by Aug. 18. The Department of Justice initially planned to involve 12 cities in the program, but may name additional sites later this year, according to a statement.

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