DOJ Warns 29 Sanctuary Cities, States that They May Have to Repay Federal Funds

Posted: Nov 15, 2017 4:45 PM

The Department of Justice warned Illinois, Oregon, Vermont and 26 other “sanctuary” jurisdictions Wednesday that in order to receive public safety grants under the DOJ's Edward Bryne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, they must prove compliance by December 8th with Section 1373 of 8 U.S. Code which prohibits state and local governments from restricting communications with federal immigration authorities “regarding the citizenship or immigration status” of individuals.

“Jurisdictions that adopt so-called ‘sanctuary policies’ also adopt the view that the protection of criminal aliens is more important than the protection of law-abiding citizens and of the rule of law,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Wednesday. “I urge all jurisdictions found to be potentially out of compliance in this preliminary review to reconsider their policies that undermine the safety of their residents. We urge jurisdictions to not only comply with Section 1373, but also to establish sensible and effective partnerships to properly process criminal aliens.”

The DOJ warned ten jurisdictions in April that they needed to prove compliance with federal immigration law in order to qualify for federal grants and said in July that they were reviewing the jurisdictions’ claims of compliance.

Wednesday’s letter, however, goes further than past warnings because it threatens grants that were awarded in 2016, meaning state and local governments would be on the hook to repay them.

“The letters remind the recipient jurisdictions that, as a condition for receiving certain FY2016 funding from the Department of Justice, each of these jurisdictions agreed to comply with Section 1373,” according to the DOJ. “The Department of Justice periodically reviews the laws, policies, or practices of jurisdictions that previously certified compliance with Section 1373 as a condition of their FY2016 Byrne JAG awards.”

Earlier Wednesday, the Justice Department faced a setback in their attempts to block federal funding from sanctuary cities when a federal judge in Pennsylvania issued an injunction blocking their attempts to do so in Philadelphia.

According to the DOJ, the following jurisdictions have “preliminarily been found to have laws, policies, or practices that may violate 8 U.S.C. 1373”:

Albany, New York;

Berkeley, California;

Bernalillo County, New Mexico;

Burlington, Vermont;

Contra Costa County, California;

City and County of Denver, Colorado;

Fremont, California;

Jackson, Mississippi;

King County, Washington;

Lawrence, Massachusetts;

Los Angeles, California;

Louisville Metro, Kentucky;

Middlesex, New Jersey;

Monterey County, California;

Multnomah County, Oregon;

Newark, New Jersey;

Riverside County, California;

Sacramento County, California;

City and County of San Francisco, California;

Santa Ana, California;

Santa Clara County, California;

Seattle, Washington;

Sonoma County, California;

Washington, District of Columbia;

Watsonville, California;

West Palm Beach, Florida;

State of Illinois;

State of Oregon; and

State of Vermont.