California leaders say they will continue to protect people in the country illegally despite an announcement by U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions that the U.S. Department of Justice would soon cut federal grants from so-called sanctuary cities.

Ruben Vives and Cindy Carcamo
March 27, 2017

Leaders from so-called sanctuary cities across Southern California struck a defiant tone Monday, stating that they would continue to protect people who are in the country illegally despite threats by U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions to cut off and even claw back grant funding from the Justice Department.

“We will fight this vigorously and still continue to maintain services to provide for our high quality of life in Santa Ana,” Sal Tinajero, a city councilman in Santa Ana, which voted unanimously to become a sanctuary city shortly after Donald Trump was elected president.

During a brief appearance at the White House briefing room, Sessions repeated previous statements that the Trump administration would seek to deny sanctuary cities some Department of Justice grant funds, but offered no new policies.

Still, officials in sanctuary cities scrambled to touch base with attorneys and explore their legal options.

He said city leaders had already prepared for possible funding cuts, adding that Santa Ana has more than $50 million in reserve, just in case.

Maywood Councilman Eduardo De La Riva said the issue will likely be settled by the courts.

“I am confident that when this latest move is challenged in the courts, this too will prove to be yet another loss for this administration,” De La Riva said.

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