The Justice Department on Friday sent letters to eight cities, threatening to withhold federal grant money if they don’t demonstrate cooperation with immigration enforcement.
President Donald Trump has promised to force “sanctuary cities” to follow the federal government’s lead on enforcement of immigration laws. Hundreds of jurisdictions across the U.S. limit to varying degrees their cooperation with federal authorities.
The letters were sent to New York City, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Milwaukee and Sacramento, as well as Cook County, Illinois. DOJ asked these local governments to provide documentation that they're complying with a federal law that requires information-sharing by local, state and federal authorities on citizenship and immigration status.
If the nine jurisdictions don’t present documentation of compliance by June 30, DOJ said it may withhold or terminate funds under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program, which funds state and local criminal justice programs.
For now, the DoJ is only demanding information sharing, including identities of undocumented immigrants that come into contact with local police, and not demanding that these immigrants be handed over to ICE. Yet. But cities are taking this lying down, and they're prepared to make a legal fight.
Of course, Trump just put a fifth conservative on the Supreme Court, so it's a fight these cities may very well lose. Once that happens, local police all over the country could become part of Trump deportation force.
No sanctuary, indeed.