DOJ Wants Sanctuary Cities’ Immigration Compliance Docs
The U.S. Department of Justice has told 23 recipients of a federal public safety grant to turn over documents showing whether they’re violating funding conditions by blocking police officers in their jurisdictions from sharing information with federal immigration authorities.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a well-known opponent of so-called sanctuary cities, expressed in a letter that certain cities, counties and states that received money last year through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program may be violating a federal statute that promotes the sharing of immigration status or citizenship information between local and federal officers.
Compliance with the statute was a condition of receiving the funding, and a failure to comply may result in the DOJ seeking a return of the money from the past recipients, Sessions said. The attorney general also threatened to subpoena any jurisdiction that doesn’t comply with his demand for the documents.
“Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law,” Sessions said in a statement. “We have seen too many examples of the threat to public safety represented by jurisdictions that actively thwart the federal government’s immigration enforcement – enough is enough.”
Cities and states rely on Byrne-JAG grants to pay for myriad law enforcement programs and initiatives each year, like forensics research, data collection, training and personnel equipment.
In an effort to crack down on sanctuary cities, Sessions announced in July that, starting this year, cities wishing to receive the Byrne-JAG funding would have to allow their police forces to share immigration information, grant Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents access to their detention centers, and give ICE agents 48 hours’ notice before releasing held immigrants.