Newark mayor: Trump trying to force sanctuary cities into becoming 'fugitive slave catchers'

Newark, N.J. Mayor Ras Baraka (D) in an interview early Sunday said the Trump administration’s threat to withhold federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities is an attempt to intimidate local officials into becoming “fugitive slave catchers.”

“I think that them targeting sanctuary cities is a way for them to tell mayors and other folks around the country: one, that they’re sticking to what, I think, is a very unconstitutional, un-American policy and trying to intimidate us into being what I’ve called ‘fugitive slave catchers’ that run around and do their bidding in our cities,” Baraka said on “PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton” on MSNBC.

“And if we refuse to do that, then it makes it difficult for them to continue their policy because they don’t have the resources to run down all the undocumented residents locally,” Baraka added.

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Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsForget the spin: Five unrefuted Mueller Report revelations Sessions: It's time to accept the results of the Mueller report and move on Trump poised to roll back transgender health protections MORE announced last Monday that state and local governments seeking Justice Department grants must certify they are not sanctuary cities in order to receive the funds.

“Such policies cannot continue. They make our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals back on the streets,” Sessions said. “Today, I am urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws.”

His announcement, made during a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room, was the latest step by the Trump administration to crack down on sanctuary cities, which do not assist federal authorities in enforcing immigration laws.