The Department of Justice had previously told nine jurisdictions to come into compliance with federal law that requires them to communicate with federal officials about on immigration matters.
That law prohibits local and state governments from enacting laws or policies that limit communication with Immigration and Customs Enforcement Customs and Border Protection about "information regarding the immigration or citizenship status."
In a statement Thursday, Sessions said: "jurisdictions that adopt so-called ‘sanctuary policies' also adopt the view that the protection of criminal aliens is more important than the protection of law-abiding citizens and of the rule of law."
However, a federal judge in September blocked the Justice Department from being able to withhold federal grant funds that do not prove compliance.
In a 41-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber in Illinois ruled in favor of the city of Chicago in its request for a preliminary injunction against Session's conditions for the federal grants — which the Justice Department appealed.