Wrong penalty for sanctuaries

Cities that refuse to help the federal government enforce the laws, including those on illegal immigration, should be penalized. But making it more difficult for them to crack down on violent criminals is not the way to do that.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week threatened to withhold federal crime-fighting funds from four “sanctuary cities” — Albuquerque, Baltimore, San Bernardino and Stockton. The four are among many that refuse to cooperate in any way with federal immigration authorities.

But the money in question is used to help combat criminal gangs and drug traffickers. Hampering the cities’ efforts would hurt — literally, sometimes — their residents as well as other Americans victimized by thugs who fan out from headquarters in the cities.

Some reasonable method of deterring cities from becoming “sanctuaries” for illegal immigrants, a few of whom are violent criminals themselves, needs to be devised.

Withholding crime-fighting assistance actually could aggravate the problem, however. The idea should not be pursued.

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