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June 15, 2018

A.G. Sessions criticizes Philly, Mayor Kenney for city's 'sanctuary' status

Politics Sanctuary Cities
Jeff Sessions Jack Gruber/USA Today

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the House Judiciary Committee during an oversight hearing on the Department of Justice.

During a speech at a local college in Scranton, Pa. Friday afternoon, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions criticized Philadelphia and Mayor Jim Kenney for its "sanctuary" status, which limits the city's cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities, Reuters reported.

Sessions said the city coddles criminals and refuses to turn them over to ICE officials when necessary. 

“Philadelphia is not giving sanctuary to Americans but to foreign criminals,” he said. “If they reach Philadelphia, they are home free. It is a de facto open borders policy.”

The city's policy on illegal immigrants is that officials will turn over those individuals to federal authorities if they present a criminal warrant or order from a judge, not if ICE only presents an administrative warrant.

On June 6, after almost a year of litigation, a U.S. district judge ruled for Philadelphia in its "sanctuary city" case against the White House, which said the federal government could not withhold $1.5 million in law enforcement grant money from Philadelphia.

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