Attorney general: Sanctuary cities risking federal money
- Author: Larry Hoffman Mar 29, 2017,
Mar 29, 2017, 2:39
Sessions on Monday warned that the U.S. Department of Justice would require communities to certify compliance with federal immigration law to be eligible for grants and the federal government would "claw-back" funding from places that willfully violate immigration law.
Yes and no. Sessions did not announce a new policy but acknowledged he was clarifying one issued in the final months of the Obama administration.
"Today U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions accused some states and cities of adopting ‚policies created to frustrate the enforcement of our immigration laws.' This statement is incorrect, unfortunate, and ignores both the Constitution and policing practices that have made our cities safer".
Sessions cited guidance issued under the Obama administration about how law enforcement officials should handle undocumented immigrants with criminal histories in his description of the Trump administration's priorities for deportations. In the current fiscal year, Department of Justices' office of justice programs and community oriented policing services anticipates awarding more than $4.1 billion in grants.
Some sanctuary city leaders said that pulling federal funds from their law enforcement agencies will actually make their communities more risky.
Sessions' message came days after the administration released a report on local jails that listed more than 200 cases of immigrants released from custody before federal agents could intervene.
The Washington Times reports that almost 500 jurisdictions across the county consider themselves sanctuary cities - among them Syracuse, Rochester and New York City.
Sessions' statement drew swift pushback from NY state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who said his office would continue helping local governments "have the tools they need to protect their immigrant communities".
Matt Segal, legal director of the Massachusetts ACLU, said his organization believes it's actually illegal under state law for local police to carry out detainer requests. "However, if someone commits a crime, they will be held accountable whether or not they are a citizen and we will continue to cooperate with federal authorities". Trump argued the killing in the sanctuary city of San Francisco was an argument against such communities' existence.
Attorney General Maura Healey also told reporters Sessions appeared unfamiliar with how local and federal law enforcement now share information and cooperate.
Faulconer said in the memo that the SDPD's primary focus has always been on "crime prevention and the enforcement of local laws".
Under Special Order 40, Los Angeles police officers are prohibited from approaching individuals to ask about immigration status or arresting people for immigration-related violations. Unfortunately, some states and cities have adopted policies created to frustrate this enforcement of immigration laws.
Chicago has been a sanctuary city since the 1980s.
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"It is unconstitutional to withhold funding", said Florence resident Laurie Leyshon. He says withholding funding "just isn't right". They also, according to the order, cause "immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic".
But Sessions said that not retaining those suspects jeopardizes public safety. So we're gonna be fighting to keep that funding in whether we're a sanctuary city or not. Also Monday, Santa Fe and 34 other cities filed an amicus brief supporting a California lawsuit challenging Trump's executive order against sanctuary cities.
"We are going to become this administration's worst nightmare", said New York City council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Broadly, people use it to describe jurisdictions with policies and practices that limit local involvement in immigration enforcement.