Immigration hardliners are threatening to hold potentially billions of dollars in state grants hostage as they seek to compel so-called sanctuary cities to cooperate with federal law enforcement officials.
Legislators in 33 states have introduced measures to limit or prevent cities from acting as sanctuaries for ..
“The Department of Justice will require jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department grants to certify compliance” with the section of federal law that requires cities to cooperate, Sessions said last week. “[F]ailure to remedy violations could result in withholding of grants, termination of grants, and disbarment or ineligibility for future grants.”
City officials have voiced concern over the lack of legal clarity. Officials in sanctuary jurisdictions say only the federal government can enforce federal immigration law, and that conscripting local law enforcement officials for those efforts — a practice known legally as commandeering — is unconstitutional.
“It’s invading our sovereignty. It’s trying to commandeer local resources to apply federal law,” Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes told The Hill. “The federal government doesn’t have the right to commandeer, to say we’re going to conscript [Seattle Police Department] officers to enforce federal immigration laws.”