May 16 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump described undocumented immigrants suspected in crimes as "animals" Wednesday during a sanctuary cities roundtable with California leaders and suggested the Department of Justice investigate Oakland's mayor for obstruction of justice.
He took umbrage with Mayor Libby Schaaf's warning to immigrants in February of upcoming Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids.
"To me, that's obstruction of justice," Trump said during the roundtable, which Attorney General Jeff Sessions attended. "And perhaps the Department of Justice can look into that."
Sessions didn't react to the president's comment, a White House pool reporter attending the meeting said.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said it was difficult to catch and prosecute undocumented immigrants suspected in crimes, specifically MS-13 gang members.
"These aren't people. These are animals," Trump responded, indicating he would like local law enforcement to have more authority in punishing immigrants.
"We cannot let this butchery happen in America," Trump said.
In March, the Justice Department sued California over its sanctuary policies, in which local and state law enforcement agents refuse to use public funds to investigate or arrest people for immigration purposes -- a federal offense. Some California counties, including Orange and San Diego, have joined the federal lawsuit.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misidentified Sheriff Mims. The story also has been updated to clarify that Trump was calling MS-13 gang members "animals."