Justice Department threatening to pull all of California's grant money

Ever since Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the new declaration that all of California would henceforth be a sanctuary state where federal immigration officials would receive no help from local law enforcement in protecting citizens from illegal aliens, they’ve been running into problems. First, the state’s sheriffs began openly protesting the move, with some refusing to comply with the orders. And now, with enough budget woes already plaguing them, the Department of Justice is sounding as if they will make good on their previous promise and begin slashing some of the grant money they’re used to receiving from Washington. (Fox News)

The Department of Justice issued California another stern warning Wednesday – drop its sanctuary state status or remain in violation of federal law and potentially lose out on millions of dollars…

Wednesday’s letter urges California to comply federal statute (8 USC 1373) which bars local jurisdictions from limiting communication with federal law enforcement about a person’s immigration status or whereabouts. The letter states that California’s new law (SB54) “May violate,” 1373.

Department of Justice Officials tell Fox News this situation could result with future federal grants being withheld from California, that threat has been a common thread in this ongoing story. However DOJ officials also tell Fox they could “clawback” funds already awarded to the Golden State.

Previously California only needed to worry about losing future JAG grants, but now Justice seems to be upping the ante. They’re claiming the right to “claw back” funds already allocated for California in the 2016-2017 budget. They’re citing 8 USC 1373 as the basis for this claim, which reads:

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.

In this case, the State government entity would be the State of California and the State official would be the Governor, in concert with the legislature. This doesn’t mean that federal agents are going to show up in Sacramento and slap some handcuffs on Jerry Brown (more’s the pity), but it’s certainly a basis for curtailing the disbursal of optional funding such as these grants.

So how much money are we talking about? In 2016 there were more than $18M in DoJ grants issued to California which may now be “clawed back.” And a similar amount is on the line for both this year and next year. The Golden State is already struggling to figure out how they will inch closer to the single-payer health care dream which is threatening to bankrupt them, so I’m sure the portion of their budget which goes to law enforcement doesn’t need to take a $54M punch in the nose at this point.

All of this is playing out at the same time that California put a massive new gasoline tax into effect. People are up in arms over that and recall efforts are underway against the legislators who pushed that plan through. There’s also a referendum to repeal the tax hike in the works. With all of this in mind, one has to wonder how much more of this the voters of California will put up with. Their own government is making them less safe and draining their wallets. I realize this is a population with decades of liberal majorities under their belt, but at some point there has to be a straw that breaks the camel’s back.