DOJ Threatens to Cut Off Sanctuary Cities from Federal Funding
10 sanctuaries cities trying to challenge President Donald Trump’s strict immigration policies have received warnings from Attorney General Jeff Sessions that they may be in violation of federal law.
The Department of Justice is requesting documents proving that these cities are complying with the law or they could lose their federal funding.
“Last year, the Obama administration sent out notices that people had to comply with this cooperative language in the law that was passed several years ago,” said Sessions on Fox News Network’s Fox & Friends. “And we sent out a letter today to 10 cities that the Inspector General’s office last year said were potentially in violation of the law involving deportation in sanctuary cities. We expect them to respond. If they don’t respond, they should not receive the grants because the grants were issued on condition of cooperation.”
These cities have until June 30 to respond with evidence proving they are not violating any laws.
The DOJ said previously that these communities are “crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime.”
It looks as though these cities’ are focusing more on protecting illegal immigrations. After a raid in California Bay, where 11 MS-13 gang members were arrested, the DOJ pointed out that “city officials seemed more concerned with reassuring illegal immigrants that the raid was unrelated to immigration than with warning other MS-13 members that they were next.”
Even with Sessions’ recent threat, some of these cities are remaining defiant.
“We’re not going to cave to these threats, said Marina Dimitrijevic, Milwaukee Country Supervisor, who is ready for a legal fight if funds are pulled.
Milwaukee is one of the counties discovered to have especially relax immigration rules.
“The jurisdictions also include Clark County, Nevada; Miami-Dade County, Florida; and Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. They were singled out in a May 2016 report by the Justice Department’s inspector general that found local policies or rules could interfere with providing information to immigration agents. Following the report, the Obama administration warned cities that they could miss out on grant money if they did not comply with the law, but it never actually withheld funds,” writes The Washington Times. “The report pointed to a Milwaukee County rule that immigration detention requests be honored only if the person has been convicted of one felony or two misdemeanors, has been charged with domestic violence or drunken driving, is a gang member, or is on a terrorist watch list, among other constraints.”
So what law is creating a rift between local and federal government?
“The federal law in question says state and local governments may not prohibit police or sheriffs from sharing information about a person’s immigration status with federal authorities,” writes The Washington Times. “The money could be withheld in the future, or terminated, if local officials fail to prove they are following the law, wrote Alan R. Hanson, acting head of the Office of Justice Programs. The grant program is the leading source of federal justice funding to states and local communities.”
John Kelly, Homeland Security Secretary intensified his rhetoric about the immigration problem and said that if local police refuse to deliver people in custody, immigration agents will get involved.
“Ideally the best place for us to pick up these illegal criminals is in jails and prisons,” said Kelly at a news conference with Sessions in San Diego. “If they don’t do that, then we have to go into neighborhoods. We have to go into courthouses. We have to go wherever we can find them and apprehend them.”
Kevin de Leon, leader of California’s state Senate was quick to reject this DOJ demand.
“Their constant and systematic targeting of diverse cities and states goes beyond constitutional norms and will be challenged at every level,” said de Leon.
$29 million in law enforcement aid is at stake if all the cities don’t comply.
Author’s note: It’s not a smart move for these cities to stand against the federal government in this case. With Neil Gorsuch as the new justice of the Supreme Court, the Trump Administration will likely win these arguments now. Not to mention, the crime in these areas will skyrocket even more without federal funding. Why should legal U.S. citizens be punished because their city’s government is more concerned about protecting illegal immigrants?