Sessions’ New Restrictions on Sanctuary Cities Draws Congressional Praise

AP File Photo/Alan Diaz

The chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees funding for the Department of Justice praised Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement of new restrictions on sanctuary cities.

On Tuesday, AG Sessions announced two new restrictions on federal law enforcement grants to ensure compliance with immigration law enforcement laws. The move drew praise from U.S. Representative John Culberson (R-TX) who serves as chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science.

The new restrictions apply to what are referred to as Byrne Grants – grants authorized under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Programs. The grant application process requires cities and other jurisdictions to certify compliance with 18 USC §1373, a law signed during the Clinton Administration requiring 100 percent compliance with immigration officials.

The new restrictions require jurisdictions to allow officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enter “any facility under the jurisdiction’s control” to conduct immigration status checks. Jurisdictions are also required to provide federal authorities 48-hour notice before releasing an alien subject to an immigration detainer, Breitbart News’ Ian Mason reported.

“This is a good thing that Attorney General Sessions has done,” Rep. Culberson told Breitbart Texas in an interview Tuesday night. “I am very grateful the AG is following through on an effort I spearheaded last summer to force sanctuary cities into compliance with immigration law.”

During the spring and summer of 2016, Culberson worked with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Attorney General Loretta Lynch to force the agency to declare that Byrne Grants would be withheld from jurisdictions refusing to cooperate with immigration authorities, Breitbart Texas reported.

This effort led to a certification by the DOJ Office of Inspector General (OIG) of ten jurisdictions as not being in compliance with the requirements for receiving the grants. The DOJ notified those jurisdictions they would not be eligible for grants in FY 2017 unless they changed their policies.

Those jurisdictions certified as not being in compliance are:

  • The State of Connecticut
  • The State of California
  • Orleans Parish, Louisiana
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Cook County, Illinois
  • The City of Chicago
  • Miami-Dade County, Florida
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Clark County, Nevada

Since that time, Miami-Dade County and Orleans Parish have reversed their policies to comply with immigration officials, Breitbart News reported.

Culberson urged Sessions to cut off funding to the more than 300 sanctuary jurisdictions across the country as soon as possible. “We must use every tool at our disposal to ensure 100 percent compliance with immigration officials,” Culberson said.

“The attorney general is entirely within his rights to withhold these grants,” the chairman explained. “Even the Obama-appointed federal judge who ruled against President Trump’s immigration executive order upheld the right of the AG to withhold funds for jurisdictions failing to comply with 1373.”

Culberson referred to rulings from U.S. District Jude William Orrick III from San Francisco. Earlier this month, Orrick rejected a request from the DOJ to reconsider his previous decision, Breitbart News Joel Pollak reported.

“The attorney general is on solid legal ground,” Culberson stated. “1373 is not even an issue anymore.”

The application process for Byrne Grants includes a certification by the applicant, under penalty of perjury, that the jurisdiction is cooperating with immigration officials. The grant application period has closed and Culberson urged the AG to release the names of cities that will not be receiving the grants for non-compliance as soon as possible.

“Our goal is not to strip the money from these cities,” Culberson explained. “Rather, our goal is to get them to change their policies of protecting criminal aliens. It is their choice. If they want federal money, follow federal law.”

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.


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