Attorney General Todd Rokita cautioned local officials in several Indiana cities and counties that he will pursue legal action against them after July 1 if they refuse to follow laws aimed at apprehending illegal immigrants.

Attorney General Rokita’s office sent a blunt message to officials in East Chicago, Gary, West Lafayette and Monroe County: Confirm you have rescinded local policies that enable illegal immigration — or face swift legal consequences starting July 1.

“The flood of illegal immigrants entering the United States is a problem that harms all of us,” Attorney General Rokita said. “The ones paying the price for this lawlessness are Hoosier taxpayers, who must bear increased costs for health care, education and other services used by illegal immigrants.”

The Indiana General Assembly passed a law this year authorizing the attorney general to file lawsuits against any Indiana colleges, universities or units of local government not enforcing current Indiana laws banning sanctuary cities.

A “sanctuary city” is a term for a local unit of government that has adopted a policy to deliberately and intentionally disregard federal law and not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Town hall attendees and some state representatives have decried these “immigrant welcome centers” popping up around the state, expressing worries that crime and illegal, cheap labor will displace current residents in places like Johnson and Jackson counties.

“We welcome want-to-be-patriots to the United States who will add value to our country and want to live their lives under the values this country was founded upon,” Attorney General Rokita said. “The first way they can show that is by following our laws. Those who do not follow our laws by entering our country legally should not be allowed to stay.”

Attorney General Rokita has sent letters to officials in the cities of East Chicago, Gary, West Lafayette and Monroe County — warning them of impending action if they do not repeal current policies violating Indiana law.