Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned Tuesday that sanctuary cities in the U.S. will lose millions in grant money if they do not comply with federal agents' efforts to deport undocumented immigrants.
Sessions issued a statement announcing new requirements for local governments that wish to receive money from a federal grant program called the "Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Programs."
The rules require local governments to alert the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at least 48 hours before releasing inmates from local jails who are wanted by DHS agents. It also requires local governments to allow DHS agents to enter local jails and interview inmates suspected of being undocumented immigrants.
"So-called sanctuary policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes," Sessions said in his statement. "These policies also encourage illegal immigration and even human trafficking by perpetuating the lie that in certain cities, illegal aliens can live outside the law."
"We must encourage these 'sanctuary' jurisdictions to change their policies and partner with federal law enforcement to remove criminals," Sessions added.
Sessions has been a fierce advocate for cracking down on illegal immigration.
"These long overdue requirements will help us take down MS-13 and other violent transnational gangs, and make our country safer," he said.
The new requirements will apply to cities seeking grants starting in September.