Perez: Trump ‘trying to bully law enforcement’ over sanctuary cities

Perez: Trump ‘trying to bully law enforcement’ over sanctuary cities
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Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez says the Trump administration is trying to "bully" local law enforcement over so-called sanctuary cities.

“This administration not only is trying to bully law enforcement and make them [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] agents, but they’re trying to bully immigrant families,” Perez said in a statement Monday.

“Local law enforcement know their communities best and the Trump administration is trying to undermine their role by threatening to take away critical funds that make our communities safe and keep criminals off the streets.”

His comments came after Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsFederal judge rules Trump defunding sanctuary cities 'unconstitutional on its face' FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Alabama election has GOP racing against the clock MORE announced Monday that state and local governments seeking Justice Department grants must certify they are not sanctuary cities before receiving the money.

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It's the administration’s latest move cracking down on sanctuary cities, which do not assist federal authorities in enforcing immigration laws.

“Such policies cannot continue,” Sessions said during a surprise appearance at the White House press briefing room. "They make our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals back on the streets.”

“Today, I am urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws,” the former GOP senator from Alabama added.

Sessions said compliance with federal immigration laws will be a prerequisite for states and localities seeking grants from his department’s Office of Justice Programs. The office provides billions of dollars in grants and other funding to help criminal justice programs nationwide.

Trump often criticized sanctuary cities during his campaign, invoking people whose family members were killed by undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Perez said Monday the administration’s move against such jurisdictions is the latest in a string of harsh immigration policies.

“This is not who we are as a country,” said Perez, who was former President Obama’s Labor secretary.

“We are a country that must protect families from being torn apart, go after criminals to keep our communities safe, and support our local law enforcement. Today’s actions do none of that."