GOP Chairman Presses DOJ on Sanctuary Cities, Threatens Funding

Loretta Lynch speaks during an event at the Justice Department January 14, 2016 in Washington, DC.
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Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) is pressing Attorney General Loretta Lynch to prevent sanctuary cities from receiving federal law enforcement grants, saying if she does not act, he will.

“I hope the Attorney General will do the right thing here so that I am not compelled to object to relevant portions of the Department’s spending plan and reprogramming requests,” Culberson, the chairman of the the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, said Monday.

Sanctuary cities — or jurisdictions that do not comply with federal immigration authorities — have received partial blame for recent crimes committed by illegal immigrants.

“The senseless, preventable deaths which have occurred as a direct result of these policies include Kate Steinle who was shot and killed in San Francisco by a seven-time convicted felon and five-time deportee who was released onto the streets of San Francisco due to their reckless and illegal sanctuary policy,”  Culberson said, recalling the July murder that captured headlines for months.

Culberson further recalled the murders of Briana Valle in Cook County and Marilyn Pharis in Santa Maria, CA.

“Briana Valle was murdered after being shot twice in the head by an illegal alien after he was released from a Cook County, IL jail as a result of their sanctuary policy,” he continued. “Marilyn Pharis, a USAF veteran was brutally assaulted and murdered by illegal aliens in Santa Maria, California. These are just a few tragic examples of innocent Americans murdered by criminal aliens who are allowed to remain free and harbored by jurisdictions that have sanctuary policies.”

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, there are more than 300 sanctuary cities in the U.S. In 2014 those policies resulted in the release of more than 9,000 criminal aliens ICE was seeking to deport — months later more than 2,300 of those released went on to commit additional crimes.

Culberson, in a letter to Lynch, called on the attorney general to change the grant process for Department of Justice grants so that jurisdictions that fail to comply with several immigration requests are denied funding.

The Texas lawmaker added that if she does not take such actions he will block funding for those jurisdictions in future appropriations bills and keep DOJ’s lack of action in mind during the budget process.

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.