The Fraternal Order of Police is warning the Trump administration not to cut funding for sanctuary cities.
FOP Executive Director Jim Pasco met with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the White House on March 28, according to Reuters.
Pasco indicated afterwards that he had told Trump and Sessions that federal funding cuts could endanger public safety.
His comments came after Sessions announced on March 27 his intention to restrict access to funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, specifically from its Office of Justice Programs and Community Oriented Policing Services initiatives.
"The Department of Justice will require jurisdictions seeking or applying for department grants to certify compliance" immigration laws "as a condition for receiving these awards," Sessions said.
Sanctuary cities do not enforce federal immigration laws. They frequently do not inform federal authorities if an undocumented immigrant is in custody, but instead release them after their criminal case is complete.
"Such policies cannot continue," Sessions added, according to The Hill. "They make our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals back on the streets."
"Today, I am urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws," he said.
Sessions's proposal appeared to contrast with Trump's Jan. 25 executive order, in which he vowed to crack down on sanctuary cities, and insisted that no funding that is "deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes" would be cut, according to Reuters.
Pasco stressed that the FOP does not support the stance of sanctuary cities. Rather, it is concerned about the impact on local police forces. The FOP was one of Trump's main backers during the 2016 election campaign.
According to Pasco's account of the meeting, Trump told him the policy was a work in progress and that the administration would cooperate with FOP to ensure public safety is not jeopardized.
Trump administration officials have argued that their plan to crack down on sanctuary cities enjoys broad support from Americans.
"According to one recent poll, 80 percent of Americans believe that cities that arrest illegal immigrants for a crime should be required to turn them over to immigration authorities," Sessions said on March 27, according to The Washington Post.
The poll Sessions referred to was conducted by Harvard University and the Harris Poll.
By contrast, McClatchy-Marist found in a February survey that 53 percent of Americans opposed federal funding cuts to sanctuary cities, with 42 percent in favor.
Sources: Reuters, The Hill, The Washington Post / Photo credit: Dominique Pineiro/Defense Video Imagery Distribution Service