AG: Sanctuary Cities Face Ineligibility for Future Federal Funds, ‘Clawback’ of Funds Already Awarded
(CNSNews.com) – Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday that states and localities that refuse to comply with federal immigration laws will be deemed ineligible for federal grants.
“Today, I’m urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws, including 8 U.S.C. Section 1373. Moreover, the Department of Justice will require that jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department of Justice grants to certify compliance with 1373 as a condition of receiving those awards,” he said, adding that the policy “is entirely consistent with the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Program’s guidance that was issued just last summer under the previous administration.
“This guidance requires state and local jurisdictions to comply and certify compliance with Section 1373 in order to be eligible for OJP grants. It also made clear that failure to remedy violations could result in withholding grants, termination of grants, and disbarment or ineligibility for future grants,” Sessions added.
“The Department of Justice will also take all lawful steps to clawback any funds awarded to a jurisdiction that willfully violates 1373. In the current fiscal year, the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Program and Community Oriented Policing services anticipates awarding more than $4.1 billion in grants,” he said.
The attorney general said that in one week alone, “there were more than 200 instances of jurisdictions refusing to honor ICE detainer requests with respect to individuals charged or convicted of a serious crime,” according to a report released recently by the Department of Homeland Security.
“The charges and convictions against these aliens included drug-trafficking, hit-and-run, rape, sex offenses against a child, and even murder. Such policies cannot continue. They make our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals back on the streets,” Sessions said.
He pointed to the murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle who was killed two years ago in San Francisco as an example.
“The shooter, Francisco Sanchez, was an illegal immigrant who had already been deported five times and had seven felony convictions,” Sessions pointed out.
“Just 11 weeks before the shooting, San Francisco had released Sanchez from its custody, even though Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers had filed a detainer requesting that he be held in custody until immigration authorities could pick him up for removal. Even worse, Sanchez admitted the only reason he came to San Francisco was because it was a sanctuary city,” the attorney general said.
“A similar story unfolded just last week, when Ever Valles, an illegal immigrant and a Mexican national was charged with murder and robbery of a man at a light rail station. Valles was released from a Denver jail in late December, despite the fact that ICE has lodged a detainer for his removal,” he said.
“The American people are not happy with these results. They know that when cities and states refuse to help enforce immigration laws, our nation is less safe. Failure to deport aliens who are convicted of criminal offenses puts whole communities at risk, especially immigrant communities in the very sanctuary jurisdictions that seek to protect the perpetrators,” Sessions said.
Sessions said recent polling shows that 80 percent of Americans “believe that cities that arrest illegal immigrants for crime should be required to turn them over to immigration authorities.”
“DUIs, assaults, burglaries, drug crimes, gang rapes, crimes against children, and murderers — countless Americans would be alive today and countless loved ones would not be grieving today if these policies of sanctuary cities were ended. Not only do these policies endanger lives of every American — just last May, the Department of Justice inspector general found that these policies also violate federal law,” he said.
What the House Committee on Homeland security described as an “unprecedented number of bipartisan [bills] aimed at keeping Americans safe,” were passed this last week by the House which deal with a variety of aspects of homeland Security.
The nine pieces of legislation, the committee said, are designed “to … also save taxpayer dollars by improving the acquisition process at the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] and make important reforms to the operations of the Transportation Security Administration [TSA].”
“It is critical that we continue to re-examine our strategy, technology and the infrastructure we currently have in place to strengthen the Department of Homeland Security and stop terrorists from reaching our shores,” said committee chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX). “The evolving threats we face demand action to address vulnerabilities in our defenses. I commend the work of my Committee—particularly the bipartisan nature in which these bills were advanced—to make our country safer.”
The nine bills out the Homeland Security Committee passed by the House included a key counterterrorism bill, the Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel Exercise Act of 2017 (HR 1302), which expands on the work of last Congress.
The other key pieces of legislation passed this past week include the:
DHS Multiyear Acquisition Strategy Act of 2017 (HR 1249), introduced by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to require a multiyear acquisition strategy of DHS.
DHS Acquisition Authorities Act of 2017 (HR 1252), introduced by Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA), amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to provide for certain acquisition authorities for the Under Secretary of Management of DHS.
Reducing DHS Acquisition Cost Growth Act (HR 1294), introduced by Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL), amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to provide for congressional notification regarding major acquisition program breaches.
TSA Administrator Modernization Act of 2017 (HR 1309), introduced by Rep. John Katko (R-NY), streamlines the office and term of the administrator of TSA.
Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Technical Corrections Act of 2017 (HR 1297), introduced by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to make technical corrections to the requirement that the Secretary of Homeland Security submit quadrennial homeland security reviews.
Transparency in Technological Acquisitions Act of 2017 (HR 1353), introduced by Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to require certain additional information to be submitted to Congress regarding the strategic 5-year technology investment plan of the TSA.
Read Homeland Security Today’s report on the bill here.
Securing our Agriculture and Food Act (HR 1238), introduced by Rep. David Young (R-IA), amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to make the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Health Affairs responsible for coordinating the efforts of DHS related to food, agriculture and veterinary defense against terrorism.
Read Homeland Security Today’s report on the legislation here.
Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel Exercise Act of 2017 (HR 1302), introduced by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), requires an exercise related to terrorist and foreign fighter travel, and for other purposes.
Department of Homeland Security Acquisition Innovation Act (HR 1365), introduced by Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA), amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to require certain acquisition innovation.