Sessions may put more rules on money for sanctuary cities

The Trump administration will not go after all federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities, the Justice Department announced Monday - an acknowledgment that making good on such a threat would likely have been impossible.

The memo asserts that Trump's executive order targeting such communities applies to a relatively small amount of money. In the memo, Sessions acknowledged his definition is "narrow", but said any communities that wish to apply for certain federal grants must certify that they comply with the law. And he raised concerns that the specific immigration law the administration cited could be construed to require cities to comply with requests by USA authorities to keep people in custody while they await deportation.

Orrick appeared to address the administration's arguments in his April ruling.

Any city or town that violates that federal statute could lose some Justice grant funding this year, Sessions said, as long as Congress had already spelled out those conditions before the government awarded the grants.

Judge William Orrick issued his temporary injunction against the executive order saying that it was too vague.

To read this article in one of Houston's most-spoken languages, click on the button below. Ayala has drawn national attention recently for her refusal to pursue the death penalty, a position that has put her in the middle of a fight in the state Supreme Court against Gov. Rick Scott.

"The rapid downward trajectory of civil rights enforcement under United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions in his first 100 days in office can not be ignored", Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said in a statement.

Among other moves, Justice Department officials have suggested they could look for ways to keep federal grant money from cities they say are not complying with voluntary requests from immigration authorities to detain people suspected of being in the country illegally - or to reward cities that do cooperate.

The memo clarified a portion of Trump's January executive order on immigration, which administration officials originally touted as a shot across the bow to all cities who do not comply with federal immigration enforcement. It sent warning letters to nine localities in April.

Last week, Sessions sent a memo to USA attorneys requiring them to "charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense" that alleged criminals are accused of, and to pursue cases that "carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences".

  • Joanne Flowers