Dems Question Sessions’ Authority to Withhold Funding from Sanctuary Cities

Fifty three Democrats, including Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), have sent a bicameral letter to DOJ questioning what statutory authority AG Jeff Sessions has to withhold funding from sanctuary cities, especially the new conditions on federal funding for local law enforcement through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) program. In July, DOJ announced that the grants would only be given to cities and states that allow federal immigration access to detention facilities and provide 48 hours notice before they release an undocumented immigrant wanted by federal authorities. “By forcing local law enforcement to choose between redirecting resources from policing efforts to immigration enforcement or else sacrificing violence prevention funds that the Justice Department itself has described as “critical” and “necessary,” these new Byrne-JAG conditions will undermine the ability of local law enforcement agencies to combat gun violence in communities like Chicago and Baltimore,” the letter says. The letter also asks DOJ to provide more information on how they intend to evaluate compliance with the new conditions and whether it can guarantee the conditions are constitutional. More here.

Brenda Arredondo