Donald Trump

Local Leaders Fire Back at Attorney General's Remarks Against Sanctuary Cities

America's top cop fired a new salvo Monday in the fight over sanctuary cities, repeating the president's threat that cities who look to protect undocumented immigrants should have their federal funds cut.

It comes as some of the Bay Area's top leaders are in New York City for a national conference on protecting the rights of immigrants.

South Bay representatives reacted Monday to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' remarks, and the initial consensus at the conference was that it looked like they got his attention. Now, they're trying to figure out how to deal with the wrath.

San Jose teacher and community activist Cesar Juarez said he believes Sessions needs a lesson on what sanctuary means to immigrants.

"I'm fearful of being a potential victim of a hate crime, and Sessions is just giving them more motivation for committing hate crimes," Juarez said.

Others criticized Sessions as well. Santa Clara County's Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese and deputy county executive David Campos were attending the sanctuary conference Sessions criticized. They said Sessions is way off base.

"Jeff Sessions and, of course, the entire White House continue to tell us in government to do what is unconstitutional, or else," Cortese said by phone from New York. "In this case, 'or else' means 'we're going to take a whole bunch of money away from you.' That's just not right. As I've said before, that kind of behavior is extortion."

The New York conference Seeking Sanctuary continues through Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Santa Clara County has sued to block President Donald Trump's attempt to defund sanctuary cities. The suit goes to federal court April 5.

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