Published: Mon, April 24, 2017
Medical | By Dorothy Lyons

Sanctuary cities threatened with loss of federal grant money

The United States Department of Justice is working in tandem with the war Donald Trump's administration is waging on immigration by threatening to cut federal funding to so-called Sanctuary Cities. The Justice Department singled out Chicago's rise in homicides and said New York's gang killings were the "predictable effect of the city's soft-on-crime stance".

The jurisdictions also include Clark County, Nevada; Miami-Dade County, Florida; and Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.

The Washington Times reports that letters were sent to each of the nine jurisdictions the Justice Department said had signed documents past year, when they applied for Byrne Justice Assistance Grant money, saying they complied with a section of federal law that demands cooperation when immigration agents ask for it. The Justice Department sent out letters that threaten to reduce grant money unless they provide evidence of cooperation.

The recipients of the letters were warned that as a condition of receiving 2016 grants, they must certify by June 30 that they are in compliance with the law. The grant program is the leading source of federal justice funding to states and local communities.

Kevin de Leon, leader of California's state Senate, rejected the administration's demand, saying its policies are based on "principles of white supremacy" and not American values.

Lombardo says the Clark County jail assigns guards to notify ICE about risky immigrant criminals during booking. For example, according to the Justice Department, the city of NY received a $4.3 million grant in 2016.

"Attorney General Sessions is supposed to be the leading law enforcement official in America", de Blasio said.

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The Los Angeles Democrat says the administration's targeting of diverse cities and states goes beyond constitutional norms and will continue to be challenged.

The Trump administration is moving beyond rhetoric in its effort to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. "It is an outrageous statement and absurd on its face, and ignores a quarter century of progress in this city in bringing down crime", de Blasio said, adding that the city just marked its safest three months in history.

On Friday, Nisha Agarwal, commissioner for the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs in NY, said the city was prepared to respond by the June 30 deadline.

Each letter was worded similarly and signed by Alan R. Hanson, the acting director of the Office of Justice Programs, which administers the Byrne law enforcement grant program, the federal government's top source of justice funding for local jurisdictions.

And when Immigration and Customs Enforcement sends validated requests for information regarding the release of violent criminals from police custody or jail, New York City readily cooperates.

Zach Butterworth says the city has no problem and drafted its policies in consultation with federal immigration and homeland security officials.

Justice Department records show New Orleans received almost $266,000 in grant money through the program in fiscal 2016. "My far greater concern is the proactive dissemination of misinformation, fear, and intolerance".

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