Despite facing a lawsuit from the city of Chicago, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made it clear on Wednesday that the federal government would not back down from its threat to withhold grants from cities that do not comply with immigration authorities. In Miami to praise his host city for denouncing their own sanctuary policies, Sessions said that his Department of Justice was committed to holding places like Chicago accountable for their misguided policies.
“I know that Miami-Dade will be an example of the good that comes from following the law. We have already seen that: The same Independence Day weekend when Chicago suffered more than 100 shootings and 15 homicides, Miami-Dade also had a historic number of shooting deaths—zero,” Sessions said.
The attorney general said that sanctuary cities posed a threat to their own communities and castigated them for having “the gall to feign outrage when their police departments lose federal funds as a direct result of their malfeasance.”
“So to all ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions across the country, I say this: Miami-Dade is doing it, and so can you,” Sessions said. “Work with us to enforce a lawful immigration system that keeps us safe and serves our national interest. The Department of Justice will not concede a single block or street corner in the United States to lawlessness or crime. Nor will we tolerate the loss of innocent life because a handful of jurisdictions believe that they are above the law.”
On Monday, both San Francisco and the entire state of California joined Chicago in filing lawsuits against the Justice Department. The suits claim that the DOJ needs authority from Congress if they want to attach strings to funding grants.
“The Trump administration cannot manipulate federal grant fund requirements to pressure states, counties, or municipalities to enforce federal immigration laws,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said. “By placing unconstitutional immigration enforcement conditions on public safety grants, the Trump administration is threatening to harm a range of law enforcement initiatives across California. This is pure intimidation intended to force our law enforcement into changing the policies and practices that they have determined promote public safety.”
We’d predict that these lawsuits have no shot of being successful, but we’ve learned to hedge our bets in the Trump era where you have liberal judges virtually ignoring the law in favor of their own activist beliefs. There’s no decent legal argument that says the federal government HAS to give funds to municipalities that refuse to enforce federal law; it is utterly absurd to think otherwise. But, when it comes to this administration’s policies, we’ve seen the “utterly absurd” transpire time and again in courts, especially on the West coast.
Hopefully, that won’t happen this time. If it does, these cities may have to simply wait and see for themselves how destructive these sanctuary policies are. We doubt it will take long.