Up until now, all of the talk of cutting off federal funding to renegade “sanctuary cities” or states which don’t enforce the law has been mostly that… just talk. It’s been enough to spur quite a bit of action in response, both positive and negative, but for the most part we’ve only been hearing debates in the media rather than substantive policy changes in Washington. Could this be the first step in making it more official? Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice fired of letters to a number of jurisdictions reminding them that they need to take certain steps to show that they are in compliance with the law if they want to receive the rest of their expected DoJ funding. (justice.gov)
Today, the Department of Justice sent the attached letters to nine jurisdictions which were identified in a May 2016 report by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General as having laws that potentially violate 8 U.S.C. § 1373…
The letters remind the recipient jurisdictions that, as a condition for receiving certain financial year 2016 funding from the Department of Justice, each of these jurisdictions agreed to provide documentation and an opinion from legal counsel validating that they are in compliance with Section 1373. The Department of Justice expects each of these jurisdictions to comply with this grant condition and to submit all documentation to the Office of Justice Programs by June 30, 2017, the deadline imposed by the grant agreement.
You can read the full letter here but what they’re talking about is an agreement signed on to by all such grant money recipients in which they are required to uphold the applicable portions of 8 U.S.C. § 1373. The specific sticking point will likely be this section:
Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal, State, or local law, a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.
That one’s not particularly subtle, is it? But it’s also not controversial in any way. It’s just the law, and the various levels of government are all supposed to be on the same page in terms of enforcing it. But that won’t stop the usual list of suspects from acting as if such a reminder is the fountainhead of all evil in this world. For only one of many examples, we can turn to Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo. With the oh so fair and balanced title of, Feel The Propaganda, Feel the Hate, Josh seems to think he’s located “a lie” in this letter.
He points to one section I didn’t bother including above which references the skyrocketing murder rate in Chicago and then notes that New York City has been experiencing, “gang murder after gang murder.” Obviously both of those statements are true, but Marshall decides to pretend that Jeff Sessions said that the murder rate in New York City is increasing. (It’s not and he didn’t say that. But there are still too many gang murders.) Based on nothing but some mind reading, the author goes on to declare the entire premise null and void and accuse the Trump administration of being a bunch of lying liars who lie a lot.
If New York City’s policy is ‘soft on crime’, the whole country needs a lot more ‘soft on crime’ law enforcement. And fast.
There’s not much more to say. If this were one deception it might be dismissed. But of course it is not. It is a single illustrative example of deception as policy, one peep in a symphony of lies that President Trump, Attorney General Sessions and all their fellow travelers and appointees use regularly to sell their anti-immigrant crackdown and attempt to return to the ‘tough on crime’ policies of the past.
In reality, the letter reminds the recipients of current problems with gang violence and the documented fact that in some cities (most notably Chicago, Baltimore and Houston) the murder rates have spike dramatically. It also reminds them that they have already agreed to abide by the law cited above as a condition for receiving federal grant money from the Department of Justice. On the left these days, this apparently qualifies as both propaganda and hate.
Now that the letters have been sent it’s time to pull the trigger on this deal. (And no, I won’t apologize for that figure of speech.) We’re talking about billions of dollars here and a clear violation of the original contract. And since the Democrats don’t want to fund the initial phase of wall construction in the next omnibus spending bill, I know just the place that all this money can go.