Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced at a surprise White House press briefing that the Justice Department is taking steps to implement one of Trump’s core campaign promises. They will withhold some federal funds from “sanctuary cities”. The move is designed to push law enforcement to cooperate more with ICE, (Immigration and Customs Enforcement.)
“Sanctuary cities” is not an official term, but it refers to places where police don’t always automatically cooperate with ICE as it tries to track down undocumented immigrants. Trump has always promised to withhold federal grant money that went to these jurisdictions, like New York City. There are nearly 600 of these cities. Sessons said,
“I strongly urge our nation’s states and cities and counties to consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce immigration laws and to rethink these policies. Such policies make their cities and states less safe. Public safety as well as national security are at stake.”
Immigrants’ rights advocates say sanctuary jurisdictions aren’t violating any federal laws. Domenic Powell of the ACLU, says,
“Few, if any, localities are in violation of 1373. There’s no way to pretend that 1373 requires blind compliance to detainers.”
In his White House remarks, Sessions said that the Justice Department will give out more than $4 billion in grants to help with law enforcement and criminal justice issues. The Center for American Progress reports that so-called sanctuary jurisdictions received more than $870 million from the feds in the last fiscal year.
Austin is located in Travis County, Texas, where they recently lost $1.5 million in state money because its sheriff, Sally Hernandez, announced the county would stop fully cooperating with ICE. The loss could force the county to cut programs that support veterans with PTSD and parents with drug addictions, unless the sheriff there decides to start working with ICE again.
Democratic Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, who supports the sheriff’s policy, told The Daily Beast,
“At some point, you hit a point where the cuts are so much, it becomes so great that if you’re the sheriff, you have to have that discussion—you have to figure out what you’re going to do. And there probably is a point where the purse strings are such that it’s going to be hard for her not to change her policy.”
That’s exactly what our tiny Secretary of State is trying to force. A police state.
(via The Daily Beast)