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Attorney General Jeff Sesssions, Donald Trump, Melania Trump. Photo: Mandel Ngan / Getty

The White House is hosting a roundtable on sanctuary cities Tuesday afternoon with the President, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen of the Department of Homeland Security, Republican lawmakers and others, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Conservatives tried to use this week’s massive government spending bill to cut federal funds from sanctuary cities, but they failed, according to sources involved in the process. But Trump officials want to use Tuesday’s event to highlight the issue and put pressure on cities that don't comply with federal immigration law enforcement.

The roundtable guest list:

  • Donald Trump
  • Mike Pence
  • John Kelly
  • Stephen Miller
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  • DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen
  • ICE acting Director Tom Homan
  • Gene Hamilton, Counselor to the Attorney General
  • Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
  • Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ)
  • Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)
  • Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
  • Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)
  • Texas AG Ken Paxton (R-TX)
  • Arkansas AG Leslie Rutledge
  • Members of the law enforcement community

Big picture: The Department of Justice is already suing the state of California for the state’s “radical” sanctuary cities law. And In his speech on Monday, President Trump blamed sanctuary cities for releasing criminals, drug dealers and gang members back into society, claiming that "ending sanctuary cities is crucial to stopping the drug addiction crisis."

Flashback: Last month, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned residents of an incoming ICE raid. This infuriated ICE officials and Jeff Sessions.

    • ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan claimed 800 targeted undocumented immigrants evaded ICE officers because of Schaaf's warning, which prompted a San Francisco ICE spokesperson to resign because he found the number misleading and reportedly asked for a correction.
    • Shortly after, Sessions announced that the DOJ had filed a lawsuit against California, and personally attacked Shaaf in his speech, saying she endangered the lives of law enforcement to promote her "radical open borders agenda."

Go deeper

Biden cancels Chicago trip as negotiations continue over agenda

President Biden. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden has canceled a trip to Chicago Wednesday, and will stay in Washington to continue negotiations on key pieces of his legislative agenda, a White House official confirmed Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's a sign of how crucial the coming days of talks will be if Biden is to advance his $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package and his flagship infrastructure bill, with a vote for the latter planned for Thursday.

Alabama trying to use COVID relief funds to expand prisons

Inside the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala., in 2018. Photo: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

Alabama state lawmakers are trying to funnel up to $400 million of the state's American Rescue Plan funds to pay for a $1.3 billion plan to build and renovate prisons across the state, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: Diverting dollars from the COVID-relief package, passed in March, is prompting criticism over misuse.

2 hours ago - World

Jake Sullivan discussed human rights and Yemen with Saudi crown prince

MBS in 2018. Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed efforts to end the war in Yemen, the de-escalation of regional tensions with Iran, and Saudi Arabia's human rights record in their meeting on Monday, a senior U.S. official told Axios.

Why it matters: This was Sullivan's first trip to the Middle East since taking up his post in January, and he was the most senior visitor to the kingdom so far from the Biden administration, which has kept the crown prince at arm's length over his roles in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yemen.

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