Texas John Culberson scored a major victory this week in the battle against sanctuary cities. This victory follows on the heels of his victory in stopping the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) attempted ban on .223 caliber ammo. Both events were accomplished by using the House’s power of the purse.
The surprise announcement on sanctuary cities came this week during a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies chaired by Culberson. During that hearing U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch addressed two key issues regarding sanctuary cities after Culberson had expressed concerns in a letter (attached below). The Houston-based congressman was concerned about grant requests from these cities that choose to ignore federal law.
Attorney General Lynch announced a new policy regarding immigration detainers and federal grant funding to local law enforcement authorities, according to a statement from the congressman’s office obtained by Breitbart Texas.
First, the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is implementing a new policy regarding immigration detainers. The BOP will now release prisoners with immigration detainers directly to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers instead of sanctuary cities.
“This is welcome news,” Culberson said in his statement. “If this had been BOP’s policy last summer, Kate Steinle would be alive today.” Steinle was the woman killed by a criminal illegal alien who had been previously deported. The BOP released Steinle’s killer to the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department instead of ICE. The killer, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, was released from prison after completing a prison sentence for illegally re-entering the U.S. after his fifth deportation, Breitbart’s AWR Hawkins reported.
The sheriff’s office released Lopez-Sanchez after the district attorney declined prosecution on a decade-old marijuana case. The sheriff released him from the jail instead of honoring the ICE detainer because of San Francisco’s sanctuary policies.
Culberson told Breitbart Texas in an interview on Friday that he will be following up with the Department of Justice to insure the policy is being implemented.
The attorney general also announced she would be taking direct action against sanctuary cities. Attorney General Lynch stated the “DOJ can take action against jurisdictions receiving grants when they are not in compliance with federal law,” Culberson explained in his statement. “If jurisdictions choose to implement sanctuary policies that prevent them from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, they are putting their federal grant money at risk unless they change their policy to comply with federal law.”
The AG told Culberson she will be submitting quarterly reports to explain how the DOJ is progressing on this matter. She also informed the committee that her agency can take action against jurisdictions that falsely certify that they are in compliance with applicable law. 8 USC 1373 requires local and state jurisdictions to share a criminal defendant’s immigration status with federal authorities, Culberson wrote. The Texas congressman told Breitbart Texas it was very significant that the AG acknowledged this specific section of the law.
Culberson told Breitbart Texas the AG can audit local law enforcement agencies if they receive a complaint that the agency is not following the law. He then provided a list of cities that have been declared as being not in compliance by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). The list was provided to Culberson by Jessica Vaughn from the CIS. The list is attached below.
“The new policies the Department of Justice announced today will keep our streets safer by ensuring that criminal aliens do not roam freely in our communities, and prevent federal tax dollars from being sent to jurisdictions that refuse to comply with federal immigration laws,” the Houston-based congressman concluded.
In February 2015, AWR Hawkins reported on Breitbart News that the ATF had announced plans to ban certain types of .223 rifle ammunition. Culberson told Breitbart Texas he met with the head of the ATF and discussed using the House’s power of the purse to cut funding for his agency. On March 10, 2015, the ATF announced it was pulling back its proposed ban. ATF director B. Todd Jones announced he would be retiring from the agency, Hawkins reported in March.
Culberson told Breitbart Texas he has been working on methods of using the congressional power to reign in the over-reaching agencies of the federal government. These two cases showed that this technique has the power to cause change, even in the Obama Administration, he said.
A responding letter from AG Lynch to Rep. Culberson is also attached below.
Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. He is also a Life Member of the NRA. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.