L.A. Sheriff Lobbies White House to Protect $132M from Sanctuary City Ban

Los Angeles Sheriff Jim McDonnell (Frederic J. Brown : AFP : Getty)

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell has been lobbying the Trump administration in an attempt to keep funding that the region stands to lose over its sanctuary city policies.

McDonnell has made multiple trips to Washington, D.C. to ask the government not to withhold federal funds, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. The Sheriff complained to the outlet that loss of the federal grant funds would “would have a negative impact on public safety in L.A. County and Southern California.”

However, instead of working toward cooperation with federal immigration officials that could keep the funding intact, the Sheriff appears focused on retaining the sanctuary policies while also keeping the federal funding that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has warned could be in peril.

McDonnell has met with Sessions as well as former Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, who now serves as White House Chief of Staff. He has also reportedly spent time lobbying members of Congress in his attempts to hold on to the $132 million the county could lose over the next three years.

$105 of the $132 million potentially in peril for Los Angeles would come from the development of an enhanced radio and broadband communication system for law enforcement and first responders, according to the report.

Little of the $132 million seems at risk in the near term, according to the Daily News. New Department of Justice conditions for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants Program pose a small potential loss for the county. In 2017 the country received just $1.17 million through the program.

One revision to the Byrne program requires that federal immigration officials be given access to detention facilities, but the Sheriff’s Department restricts access to some inmates who have committed serious offenses, according to the report.


California’s Democratic leadership appears bent on imposing sanctuary policies on the entire state, with Senate Bill 54. If enacted, the law could mean the loss of funds for cities throughout the state.

Just this past week, the DOJ sent letters to four cities — Stockton and San Bernardino, California; Baltimore, Maryland; and Albuquerque, New Mexico; — threatening to discontinue funding over sanctuary city policies.

Sessions wrote: “By taking simple, common sense considerations into account, we are encouraging every jurisdiction in this country to cooperate with federal law enforcement. That will ultimately make all of us safer — especially law enforcement on our streets.”

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