FOX NEWS– California state and local law enforcement agencies may have to choose between more than $100 million in federal aid and the “sanctuary city” immigration policies that supporters say are humane, but critics say fuel crime.
The policies, whether in writing or just in practice, preclude local law enforcement from working with federal authorities when they catch an illegal immigrant who by law faces deportation. The laws have sparked a national controversy in the wake of dozens of murders and other violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants who local law enforcement did not report to the Department of Homeland Security.
Republicans in Congress, saying such non-cooperation is illegal, forced the Department of Justice to condition grants on compliance. For California, which enacted the California Trust Act, that could mean as much as $135 million in grants will be withheld.
“This irresponsible legislation has already caused the release of thousands of criminals that U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement was trying to deport,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Washington DC-based Center for Immigration Studies. “Now it may also cost California police and sheriffs critical funding from the federal government. Last year, these grants were worth more than $130 million.”
Vaughan said that she suspects, at least in California where this has been a contentious issue, many sheriffs and police departments are going to have to notify the state government that the Trust Act puts them in an extremely difficult position.