Trump administration to sanctuary cities: Comply with immigration laws or lose grant funds

As promised, the Trump administration is ramping up its efforts to force so-called “sanctuary cities” into compliance, and is using the power of the purse to do so. Sanctuary cities are those jurisdictions that allow illegal aliens safe passage and protection by refusing to cooperate with the federal government in enforcing immigration laws.

As reported by Townhall, Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan Hanson sent a letter to nine of the largest sanctuary cities on Friday, instructing them to provide the government with evidence that they are complying with immigration statutes, as required under the terms of receiving federal grant money.

The letter was sent to officials in Miami Dade County, Milwaukee County, Cook County (where Chicago is located), Philadelphia, New Orleans, New York City, Las Vegas and Sacramento. If these cities and jurisdictions expect to continue receiving their grant funds, they will have to prove they are complying with immigration laws. (RELATED: 276 sanctuary cities have released more than 17,000 murderers, rapists and drug dealers back onto the streets of America – just so they can VOTE!)

Assistant Attorney General Hanson’s letter states:

I write to alert you that under the terms of your FY 2016 Byrne JAG grant, award 2016-DJ-BX-0106 from the Office of Justice Programs (“OJP”), your jurisdiction is required to submit documentation to OJP that validates your jurisdiction is in compliance with 8 U.S.C. 1373, which states that “a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in anyway 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.” As your grant agreement makes clear, this documentation must be accompanied by an official legal opinion from counsel that adequately supports the validation and must be submitted to OJP no later than June 30, 2017.

The letter continued: “Failure to comply with this condition could result in the withholding of grant funds, suspension or termination of the grant, ineligibility for future OJP grants or subgrants, or other action, as appropriate.”

A press release accompanying the letter noted that the rate of murders in Chicago has skyrocketed some 50 percent since 2015, and that New York City is now seeing more gang murders, which is a “predictable consequence of the city’s ‘soft on crime’ stance.”

It also noted that a few weeks ago, a raid by federal immigration authorities in the California Bay Area netted 11 members of the violent MS-13 gang, including those suspected of murder, drug trafficking and extortion. But officials in the area “seemed more concerned with reassuring illegal immigrants that the raid was unrelated to immigration than with warning other MS-13 members they were next,” said the letter.

For weeks President Donald J. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have warned cities and jurisdictions that by openly defying federal immigration law they were at risk of losing funding — mostly for law enforcement — that is doled out annually by the Justice Department.

In recent days, Sessions has been touring various parts of the U.S.-Mexico border, pledging to take on the violent drug cartels and gangs like MS-13, which cross international boundaries regularly. (RELATED: Sessions in surprise sanctuary city announcement: Plans to withhold funding)

The New York Times reported further that the letter also notes that many sanctuary jurisdictions are “crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime.”

Nevertheless, cities remain defiant.

“We’re ready as a city to fight in court and to defend New Yorkers, defend the funding we receive from the federal government,” Nisha Agarwal, the commissioner for the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs in New York, told the Times. “But ultimately, what they’re doing is conflating immigrants with criminality in ways that certainly don’t reflect the experience in New York City. And they’re also trying to present cities as being places where crime is running amok and New York has had the lowest crime rates in the last several months in history.”

Our bet is on the Trump administration.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.


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