Justice Dept. Threatens to Cut Federal Funding for 9 Major 'Sanctuary' Jurisdictions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions / Getty
April 21, 2017

The Justice Department on Friday threatened to revoke certain federal grants from nine "sanctuary" jurisdictions if they fail to prove they are in compliance with federal immigration law.

The department sent a letter to eight cities and one county warning they could lose federal funds if they continue to limit communication with the Department of Homeland Security about "information regarding the immigration or citizenship status," the Washington Examiner reported.

Federal statute 8 USC § 1373 prohibits local and state governments from enacting policies that limit such communication with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Protection.

The jurisdictions that received the letter and other sanctuary cities deny that they violate the federal statute, arguing it only requires sharing immigration status, which they say the do, but not compliance with ICE requests like detainers.

Still, if the jurisdictions fail to prove they are in full compliance, they could lose the Office of Justice Programs Byrne JAG grant, which provides funding for personnel, training, and equipment, among other things.

Sacramento, Chicago, Cook County, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Miami, Milwaukee, and New York City all received letters and have until June 30, 2017, to provide necessary documentation to the Office of Justice Programs.

The letters, signed by acting Assistant Attorney General Alan Hanson, came after both President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions emphasized the importance of fighting sanctuary policies, which protect undocumented immigrants by not fully cooperating with federal authorities.