Trump seeks reconsideration of sanctuary ruling

Trump seeks reconsideration of sanctuary ruling

Pressuring sanctuary jurisdictions to cooperate in the enforcement of federal immigration laws has been one of the most prominent policy goals of the DOJ under Attorney General Sessions.

As a practical matter, the law most often involves detainer requests, issued by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, asking local police and sheriff's offices to hold jail inmates for up to 48 hours after they have completed serving their sentences.

The Justice Department is looking to use its control over coveted grant money to nudge so-called sanctuary cities into greater cooperation with USA immigration authorities, despite a judge's ruling that blocked President Donald Trump's effort to cut off millions to such communities.

This law prohibits jurisdictions from denying or restricting in any way the federal government's access to an individual's immigration status. Sessions said in a department memorandum on Monday, May 22, that the department may "tailor grants to promote a lawful system of immigration".

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Monday's memo clarifies the Department of Justice's plans for implementing that executive order.

In Orrick's original ruling against the Trump order, he cited comments by the president and Sessions which suggested the government meant to target a much wider swath of federal funds.

"Section 9 (a) [of the executive order] expressly requires enforcement 'to the extent consistent with law, ' and therefore does not call for the imposition of grant conditions that would violate any applicable constitutional or statutory limitation", read the memo.

But in his memo, Sessions said the order "will be applied exclusively to federal grants administered by the Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland Security, and not to other sources of federal funding". The city also has $4-5 million left over from previous years' grants that has yet to be spent, she added.

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That point figured prominently in the recent ruling by federal Judge William Orrick, who wrote: "Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement can not be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration-enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is narrowing the scope of an executive order on so-called sanctuary cities.

The narrow definition and limited punitive measures contrasts with the administration's previous rhetoric of strong action against uncooperative cities.

Many Democrats criticized Sessions for playing a role in the firing of Comey over his recusal in the Russian Federation investigation after Trump said that the investigation was part of his decision to dismiss Comey.

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Sessions wrote in his memo that he has determined that the executive order applies "solely to federal grants administered by the Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland Security, and not to other sources of federal funding".

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