The Department of Justice (DOJ) has seized another tactic to punish the so-called sanctuary cities, by ensuring they are at a competitive disadvantage regarding federal policing grants. The DOJ announced a new round of grants on Monday, admitting to giving preferential treatment to municipalities that offered their full cooperation to detention requests from federal immigration authorities.
The news follows the blocking of the Trump administration’s attempts to prevent sanctuary cities from receiving any federal grants by a federal judge. Some cities believe that checking the immigration status of individuals is not their responsibility and that neither is the enforcement of federal immigration laws, claiming immigrant communities may cease to cooperate with local police if they did so.
Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, awarded almost $100 million in federal grants on Monday to police departments across the US, enabling them to hire over 800 new officers full time. The Department of Justice gave special consideration to those law enforcement agencies that were willing to help federal immigration officials, including those providing advance notice that suspected undocumented inmates were about to be released and gave access to local prisons. Applicants were informed by the criteria ahead of time.
80 percent of those given the grants this year gave full cooperation to officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to Sessions. The federal government often sets criteria that give certain applicants priority over others, making a legal challenge against this new development far more difficult.