WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Obama’s Justice Department has coughed up hundreds of millions of dollars to so-called “sanctuary cities” that refuse federal demands for criminal illegal immigrants sought for deportation, according to a new inspector general memo.
In just 10 of 155 jurisdictions reviewed, taxpayers handed over $342.1 million in Justice grants to the law-breaking cities and states that have policies barring jails and police from cooperating with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The IG said that is 63 percent of the funds available to all American cities.
The memo is likely to stir up the issue of illegal immigration and sanctuary cities in the presidential campaign.
Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton has voiced support for the sanctuary effort in which state and local officials in mostly urban areas choose to harbor illegals with criminal records rather than comply with ICE requests to turn them over or even identify their immigration status. Donald Trump has called for an end to the practice.
The issue jumped painfully into public view in 2015 when a criminal illegal protected by long-time sanctuary city San Francisco killed a tourist, Kate Steinle.
That slaying prompted Congress to write “Kate’s Law” barring Justice funds to sanctuary cities, but Senate Democrats blocked it. Nonetheless, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, under pressure from Texas Rep. John Culberson, chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees Justice funding, recently moved to stop funding to the jurisdictions.
There are thousands of illegal aliens charged and convicted of crimes but still roaming U.S. streets. ICE figures show that in fiscal 2015, the agency encountered 152,393 illegal immigrants labeled a criminal threat, mostly in jails, but charged 64,116. About another 88,000 were not processed for deportation and released.
Justice Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s memo said that “over 140 state and local jurisdictions” may be receiving Office of Justice Program and Office of Violence Against Women grants, despite a law that demands grant-recipients cooperate with ICE. The Center for Immigration Studies has posted a map of over 300 sanctuary jurisdictions.
Jessica Vaughan, the CIS policy director who compiled the map, told Secrets, “It’s very concerning that the Department of Justice is allowing at least 10 jurisdictions that are clearly in violation of federal law to suck up nearly two-thirds of all the federal money available to help local law enforcement. The Justice Department should be prosecuting these jurisdictions, not writing them checks.”
Typically the system works this way: ICE learns that an illegal criminal they want is being held. They ask the local law enforcement to detain the illegal until ICE officers can pick them up. In sanctuary cities, those requests are ignored.
The IG said that some cities go further, barring officers from even asking the immigration status of those arrested, thwarting any effort to find illegals.
He said that any local law barring cooperation violates Section 1373 of the federal code that bars governments from refusing to cooperate on immigration issues.
Read the IG’s memo here.