Sanctuary cities and states may have thought that President Trump’s talk was simply that. They likely believed that their decision to protect illegal immigrants and defy federal law would not have any consequences. It turns out that, aside from the imminent dangers to their citizens, there could very well be monetary punishment.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has warned 29 jurisdictions, including three states, that because of local decisions to violate federal immigration law, federal grant money from last year could be in jeopardy. This is an extension of the stipulations laid out by the Justice Department this summer.
AG Sessions stated that cities must comply with the new guidelines of the Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. If they refused, then they would not be eligible for the money. The concern among the Justice Department is that sheltering illegal immigrants causes safety issues including rising crime rates.
While officials have warned 10 jurisdictions in the past about losing 2017 grants, this is a much broader warning and threatens 2016 grants as well. This would put local governments on the hook for more than $17 million.
The grants ranged in amounts from $17,00 to a county in California to $6.7 million given to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. AG Sessions stated;
“Jurisdictions that adopt so-called ‘sanctuary policies’ also adopt the view that the protection of criminal aliens is more important than the protection of law-abiding citizens and of the rule of law. I urge all jurisdictions found to be potentially out of compliance in this preliminary review to reconsider their policies that undermine the safety of their residents. We urge jurisdictions to not only comply with Section 1373 but also to establish sensible and effective partnerships to properly process criminal aliens.”
Each jurisdiction received a letter from the Justice Department outlining which local policies might be in conflict with federal law. The local officials have until December 8 to answer if they would comply with the guidelines.
Justice Department Sends Letters to 29 Jurisdictions Regarding Their Compliance with 8 U.S.C. 1373 https://t.co/dZxB2GiDaC
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) November 15, 2017
Unfortunately for the Justice Department, there are several roadblocks with this course. Already, a federal judge in Pennsylvania has issued an injunction on AG Sessions’ plan to withhold federal funds. He states that the city of Philadelphia has complied adequately with the guidelines.
We have just won the sanctuary city case for Philadelphia against Trump&Sessions. Judge enjoined them from withholding city's funding. Good for law enforcement and public safety; and good for America. Huge congrats to @HoganLovells associate Sara Solow who successfully argued it
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) November 15, 2017
Currently, the Justice Department has not issued any 2017 Byrne grants. They are in litigation with Chicago over two of the three conditions that the department set on the Byrne grants. The two that Chicago takes exception to are:
“notice” and “access” conditions that would have required cities to let federal agents into their prisons and jails
give immigration agents at least 48 hours’ notice before releasing illegal immigrants.
The outcome of the case in Chicago may determine the attorney general’s decision with the rest of the jurisdictions.
Source: The Washington Times