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Tuesday, March 28, 2017 by Elizabeth Pagano

Yesterday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he would be holding so-called “sanctuary cities” accountable for not cooperating with immigration officials and urged such cities to reconsider their positions. Specifically, Sessions said he would require jurisdictions to comply with Section 1373 of U.S. Code Title 8 as a condition of receiving Department of Justice grants. The response from local authorities was swift, and a little confused. Both Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt and Sheriff Sally Hernandez released statements explaining that the county is operating within those guidelines, though there was a clear subtext of concern that might not matter in Eckhardt’s statement, which read: “Travis County is focused on enforcing state criminal laws. In doing so, Travis County officials do not enforce nor obstruct in any way the enforcement of federal immigration law by federal immigration officials. I am frustrated that Travis County resources and attention are continually diverted from public safety to address unfounded politically motivated allegations of wrong-doing. The section of federal law cited by Attorney General Sessions has been in our federal grants for many years. We are and have been in full compliance with its requirements. The cited provision is thin cloaking for political retribution.” Mayor Steve Adler spoke with KUT about the issue, saying, “At most, we’re not voluntarily complying with a voluntary program.”

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