Trump ties combating opioid crisis to 'sanctuary cities' debate

President Trump on Saturday tied his efforts to fight the opioid crisis to his administration's push to end 'sanctuary' laws, which offer protection to immigrants in the country illegally.

"Sanctuary cities release thousands of dangerous criminal aliens into our communities - including drug traffickers, drug dealers and vicious gang members," Trump said in his recorded weekly address.

Trump said Congress needs to cut funds for sanctuary cities because such cities shield criminals and turn major cities into drug distribution centers where "local politicians will help them evade authorities."

"It is no coincidence that six of the biggest heroin markets in the United States are sanctuary cities," Trump said. "More than 40 percent of heroin coming across the southern border is transported through California - a sanctuary state."

The president hit the mayor of Oakland, Calif., Libby Schaaf, for warning the city that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was going to conduct an immigration raid the day before it happened.

ICE claims the mayor's warning helped hundreds of criminals escape arrest.

Trump made similar remarks earlier this month in New Hampshire when he unveiled his plan to fight the opioid crisis.

He called on Congress to block funds for sanctuary cities and attacked Massachusetts sanctuary cities.

He also cited a Dartmouth College study that showed most people interviewed said the main suppliers of fentanyl in New England were in the Massachusetts cities of Lawrence and Lowell, both of which have sanctuary laws.

The mayor of Lawrence said the president's comments were divisive, according to Boston's NBC affiliate.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill making his state a sanctuary state last October.

The Trump administration sued California for its sanctuary laws earlier this month. Trump also attacked Brown over his immigration policies in a tweet on Saturday.