AG Jeff Sessions threatened to stop funding sanctuary cities, like Northampton

The Attorney General can sue cities that don't comply with immigration enforcement

Neil Gorsuch, Jeff Sessions
FILE - In this March 27, 2017 file photo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. The Trump administration issued a fresh threat to withhold or revoke law enforcement grant money from communities that refuse to cooperate with federal efforts to find and deport immigrants in the country illegally. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Attorney General Jeff Sessions is warning sanctuary cities across the country they could lose federal funding for refusing to cooperate with immigration authorities. He also suggested the government would come after any grant money awarded to them.

What’s unclear is where this federal funding would be pulled from, or what grants are included.

Northampton offers sanctuary protections. Police officers aren’t allowed to ask for your immigration status unless they have a warrant for your arrest.

‘Claw-back’ pledge from Sessions raises stakes in sanctuary cities

Sessions could sue cities on the grounds that they’re violating federal law by refusing to cooperate with immigration enforcement. The process of de-funding sanctuary cities is still expected to run into some legal troubles, similar to the way the travel ban did.

“It is unconstitutional to withhold funding,” said Florence resident Laurie Leyshon. “But if they try it, I think we should withhold our taxes. It can go both ways.”

Sabine Chatanlong, a teacher for international students, said this move could drive students away from studying in Northampton. “A lot of people come from many countries. Some intend to stay after their studies. Some, not.”

Amherst is currently considering a bylaw to become a sanctuary city. Massachusetts mayors from Somerville and Cambridge have already vowed to remain sanctuary cities.

Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz was unable to comment for this story.