What do funding threats mean?
washington» The Trump administration is issuing a fresh threat to withhold or revoke law enforcement grant money from communities that refuse to cooperate with federal efforts to find and deport immigrants in the country illegally. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday offered few details about how the Justice Department will determine which cities are out of compliance and what steps it will take to strip them of funds. Here is a look at what could happen next:
Is this new?
Yes and no. Sessions did not announce a new policy but acknowledged he was clarifying one issued in the final months of the Obama administration. That policy said municipalities would miss out on federal grant money for lack of compliance with a federal law that says state and local governments may not prohibit workers from sharing information about a person’s immigration status with federal immigration officials.
What’s at stake?
Cities could miss out on grants that pay for an array of policing programs, including crime lab technology, crime prevention efforts, equipment and other services. In fiscal year 2016, the Office of Justice Programs made nearly 3,000 grants totaling $3.9 billion to cities, counties, states and other local governments.
The majority of money went to state offices for victim services. But other grants went to smaller, specific programs — nearly $1 million for body cameras for sheriff ’s deputies in Broward County, Fla.; $1.2 million in Charlotte, N.C., to help cut the backlog of rape kit testing; $12,966 to cover police involvement in the city of Lawndale, Calif.’s Youth Day parade and at the Fourth of July fireworks celebration. Philadelphia, a “sanctuary city,” received $57.5 million in grants in 2016 — mostly to cover police expenses for the Democratic National Convention.
What is an immigration detainer?
A detainer is a request by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to a law enforcement agency to keep a suspected deportable immigrant in its custody long enough for immigration authorities to arrest the person. The requests ask federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to give them at least 48 hours’ notice before a suspected immigrant is released from a jail or to hold the person for up to 48 hours after they normally would be released.
Is Sessions right about violence connected to detainers?
There certainly have been a handful of high-profile and tragic cases in recent years involving immigrants in the country illegally who were released by local jails, despite the federal government’s efforts to detain them for civil immigration violations.