US Attorney General Jeff Sessions read the riot act to four major US cities that consider themselves 'sanctuary cities.' On Thursday Sessions gave the cities what he termed 'the last chance,' to prove that they shouldn't be punished, according to NBC News.

The 'punishment' comes in the form of denying the sanctuary cities millions of dollars from the federal government to fight crime. According to NBC News, the cities of Philadelphia, Chicago, New York and New Orleans were given until October 27, to show that they had not implemented 'sanctuary policies.'

According to the Justice Department, the four cities chose to implement policies that violated federal statutes which requires them to cooperate with immigration officials, to deport undocumented immigrants held in local jails.

Federal public safety grants

In a statement, Sessions accused the four cities of protecting criminal illegal immigrants at the expense of the rule of law and law-abiding citizens, through their policies.

Sessions has in the past, threatened many times to withhold funding to cities that have put in place laws to avoid cooperating with immigration officials in the government's war on illegal immigrants. His statement on Thursday was the 'last warning' to sanctuary cities to reconsider their policies or lose the federal public safety grants.

According to NBC News, the sanctuary cities were sent letters on Wednesday from the DOJ, on the matter. Other jurisdictions that received the letter were Illinois and Cook County.

Executive order

In January, President Trump issued an Executive order that barred funding from the central government to sanctuary cities. The order was challenged in court, and a nationwide injunction was issued by a judge in April, suspending the withholding of funds.

In August, Chicago filed a case against the DOJ, stating that the City's police were being forced to handle undocumented immigrants, "in a way that could cause insecurity, damage public trust and violate human rights."

In an act of defiance, Mayor's of New York and Chicago have categorically stated that they will protect their immigrant population from immigration officers.

They added that they "play a crucial role" in the city's security by assisting local enforcement in fighting and solving crimes.

Seth Stein, a mayoral spokesman for New York City, told NBC News, that they were "studying" the DOJ's response, and were prepared to fight to protect public safety funding.