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Immigration White House

Trump to announce actions targeting sanctuary cities, top ally says

 (Ron Sachs / EPA)
(Ron Sachs / EPA)

President Trump is preparing to take executive action that would target funding for so-called sanctuary cities, part of a series of moves he is considering announcing this week on immigration and national security.

UPDATE: Trump orders moves on border wall and sanctuary cities; refugee ban is drafted and being considered

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a close ally of the new administration, telegraphed the sanctuary cities announcement during a speech Wednesday to the conservative Heritage Foundation. He called it a “common sense” action that would “drive the left crazy.”

The move would fulfill one of Trump's signature campaign promises: forcing police in such major jurisdictions as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago to work more closely with immigration officials and demand local jails hold people who are in the country illegally, even if they were cleared of criminal charges.

Federal funding for those cities and counties could be put at risk by the order, as officials at the departments of Justice and Homeland Security review what types of grants could be withheld. Exactly how much funding would be stripped is unclear, and it could take months for the full impact of the order to be seen.

Police chiefs in many towns have said that working closely with federal immigration officials undermines trust with the immigrant community and makes people less likely to report crimes or testify as witnesses. In many sanctuary cities, police do work with immigration officials to hand over suspects with violent criminal records who are arrested.

During the campaign, Trump repeatedly promised to punish sanctuary cities if he was elected and brought relatives of people killed by immigrants who were in the country illegally onto the stage at his rallies.

Gingrich cited a surge in violence in Chicago as a prime example of why the policy is not working.

“I can’t wait to see [Mayor] Rahm Emanuel explain why Chicago needs more murderers and more rapists on the street,” he said.

Trump is due to announce a series of new executive actions during a visit Wednesday afternoon to the Department of Homeland Security.

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