We’ve been beating this particular drum here for some time now, but there may finally be a light at the end of the illegal border tunnel. We have more than one hundred different cities, as well as entire states, which have enacted so called “sanctuary” policies which forbid state and local law enforcement from cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the detention and deportation of illegal aliens in our country. And yet these same locations continue to receive vast amounts of federal taxpayer funding while openly defying federal law. For at least a small portion of that funding, those days may be coming to an end thanks to new instructions from Congress to the Inspector General of the Department of Justice. (Fox News)
Republicans in Congress, saying such non-cooperation is illegal, forced the Department of Justice to condition grants on compliance. For California, which enacted the California Trust Act, that could mean as much as $135 million in grants will be withheld.
“This irresponsible legislation has already caused the release of thousands of criminals that U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement was trying to deport,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Washington DC-based Center for Immigration Studies. “Now it may also cost California police and sheriffs critical funding from the federal government. Last year, these grants were worth more than $130 million.”
Vaughan said that she suspects, at least in California where this has been a contentious issue, many sheriffs and police departments are going to have to notify the state government that the Trust Act puts them in an extremely difficult position.
California is only one of many locations, of course, but it’s one of the worst. Currently under scrutiny is the California Trust Act. This legislation has been in effect for more than two years now and it prevents law enforcement officers from cooperating with federal immigration officials in the detention of illegal aliens who have been apprehended. This places them in direct conflict with federal law. Now, in the various states and cities which have put such lawless regulations in place, the Justice Department’s Inspector General will be monitoring compliance and reporting to Congress. In their first report, the IG found that sanctuary cities are on the rise and local law enforcement cooperation with federal authorities in these areas has experienced a steady decline. In the case of California, this may wind up costing them more than $100M in grant money through the Byrne-JAG and State Criminal Alien Assistance Program channels.
Beyond California, the IG is also looking at a number of other locations, including: the entire state of Connecticut, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Miami, Chicago, New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia. Each of them will be facing a choice of actually enforcing federal law or losing these sizable grants. Of course, some city leaders remain defiant, such as Rahm Emanuel in Chicago.
The mayor of Chicago, the IG report noted, has been defiant, stating publicly, “we are not going to turn people over to ICE, and we are not going to check their immigration status. We will check for criminal background, but not for immigration status.”
Does Rahm even listen to himself when he speaks? He’s claiming that his cops will be told to check for “criminal background” but not immigration status. But if you are in the country illegally, you are, by definition, a criminal. Perhaps the Mayor will feel compelled to take a fresh look at the question once the piles of money from the federal government stop showing up.