“Sanctuary city” officials who believe in letting illegal aliens out of jail could find themselves behind bars themselves if an Alabama Republican gets his way.
Republican Sen Jeff Sessions told the Daily Caller Tuesday he believes Congress should consider making federal criminals out of city officials who impose “sanctuary city” policies by refusing to inform immigration officials about felon illegal aliens.
“I’m not aware that it is a crime,” he said.
Sessions made the remarks following the death of Kathryn Steinle, who was fatally shot by Francisco Sanchez, an illegal alien who was able to avoid deportation – despite multiple felonies on his record – through San Francisco’s “sanctuary city” policies.
The city’s policies severely restrict the circumstances local police are required to cooperate with federal immigration officials when it comes to detaining or holding felons who are in the country illegally.
Sessions said that lack of communication and cooperation is both dangerous and unprecedented.
“It goes against all traditions of law enforcement,” he said.
Sessions said local authorities routinely communicate with each other to keep felons off the streets, and he finds it “unthinkable” that local officials refuse to do the same with federal agencies.
“If you have somebody charged with a crime in [another] city, you hold them until you complete your business with them, and when you’re finished they’re sent to the next [city] to face the charges there,” he said. “They’re not released.”
But that type of inter-agency cooperation is not happening between localities like San Francisco and federal immigration officers.
“So what was happening was, ICE authorities were filing detainers and sanctuary cities were saying, ‘we’re not gonna honor them. They finished paying for the crime they committed in our city — we’ve released them,’” Sessions told the Daily Caller.
“I guess you could make it a crime,” Sessions said.
Sessions said Congress needs to tackle the issue because too many illegals are released back onto American streets between brief stays in jail, giving them the opportunity to “murder somebody in the interim.”
Sessions’ comments highlight the concern among conservatives that getting cities like San Francisco to start following federal immigration laws might literally take an act of Congress.