Sanctuary cities and other jurisdictions will now have to choose between protecting illegal aliens and receiving federal law enforcement grants thanks to the work of a Texas congressman.
Texas Representative John Culberson (R-TX) used his position as chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science, and the congressional power of the purse, to force the Department of Justice (DOJ) to enforce existing law. Culberson announced in February an agreement with outgoing Attorney General Loretta Lynch to block federal law enforcement grants to jurisdictions with sanctuary policies, Breitbart Texas reported.Since that time, the Texas congressman has been working with DOJ officials to certify the top-ten jurisdictions whose state and local law enforcement agencies are not cooperating with immigration officials.
Citing his committee’s power over the DOJ’s budget, Culberson stated in February:
Any refusal by the Department to comply with these reasonable and timely requests will factor heavily in my consideration of their 2017 budget requests, and whether or not I will include language in the fiscal year 2017 CJS appropriations bill prohibiting the award of law enforcement grants to jurisdictions that harbor illegal aliens. I will include language in this year’s bill requiring the DOJ to amend the application process for Byrne JAG, COPS, and SCAAP grants so that grantees must certify under oath that they are in compliance with section 1373 of title 8 of the United States Code.
The law was passed in 1996 during the administration of President Bill Clinton to force local and state jurisdictions to cooperate with immigration officials or risk losing federal funding. Part of the process requires the federal agency’s office of inspector general to certify that a jurisdiction is not in compliance in order to block funding.
“The law requires cooperation with immigration officials 100 percent of the time,” Culberson told Breitbart Texas in an exclusive interview. In February, Culberson provided Attorney General Lynch with a list of more than 300 sanctuary cities compiled by the Center for Immigration Studies.
From that list, the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General compiled a top-ten list of sanctuary jurisdictions. Those jurisdictions receive about 65 percent of federal law enforcement grants managed by the DOJ he said. Those jurisdictions include the entire states of California and Connecticut; Orleans Parish in Louisiana; New York City; Philadelphia; Cook County, Illinois; Miami-Dade County, Florida; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Clark County, Nevada. These jurisdictions have received more than $342 million in federal payments.
The 16-page report from the inspector general’s office was completed in May 2016, but was initially marked as “Law Enforcement Sensitive,” Culberson told Breitbart Texas. This marking prevented making the information public. Since that time, he used his power over the agency’s budget to force the inspector general to remove the classification. This was accomplished late last week, the congressman said.
He stated that the DOJ has notified these jurisdictions that unless they become 100 percent compliant with the law, they will not be eligible to receive these grants for the next fiscal year. The grant process begins in January 2017, Culberson explained. “The applications are taken in February and March and the awards are announced early in the summer months,” he stated.
While the law was passed in 1996, it took Culberson’s actions to force the DOJ to finally enforce the law for the first time in July 2016. “I had to stand on their ‘air hose,’” Culberson explained referring to Congress’ power to cut a federal agencies’ funds. “For those on the top-ten list, it is done.”
“The critical steps have already been taken,” Chairman Culberson stated. “President Trump and Attorney General Sessions will, on day one, be able to strip the funding from these sanctuary jurisdictions simply by enforcing existing law.”
Culberson said the action taken by the DOJ sets a precedent that can be used by other agencies to cut funding to sanctuary cities and other similar jurisdictions. “The days of receiving federal money while protecting illegal aliens are over,” he said.
In addition to blocking future federal grants, the incoming administration can use this same law to recover funds that have already been paid to these jurisdictions, the congressman explained. “This means, the State of California could be forced to repay the more than $3 billion in grants received over the past 10 years,” he told Breitbart Texas.
“I have encouraged the chairmen of other appropriations committees to take the same actions in their areas of jurisdiction,” Culberson said. “The timing on this action by the DOJ is perfect. The new administration can go right to work to force these jurisdictions to comply or simply choose to stop receiving federal money.”