A Republican lawmaker is vowing to tighten the purse strings on the Justice Department to make sure the Obama administration denies grant money to sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration agents.
Texas Rep. John Culberson, chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Department of Justice, warned Attorney General Loretta Lynch he'll use his budget authority if she doesn’t move to shut down sanctuary cities, the Washington Times reports.
"This is a complicated problem with a simple solution," Culberson said, the Times reports. "State and local law enforcement agencies should not receive federal law enforcement grant money unless they are in compliance with federal law."
Culberson points out federal law requires local governments to cooperate with immigration agents.
In a letter to Lynch, Culberson is demanding she include a certification for localities applying for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants – the community-oriented police office assistance program – and the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program vowing they're in compliance with federal laws, including cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
If she doesn't agree, the Justice Department could face consequences when Congess writes its 2017 spending bill, he warns, the Times reports.
The Times reports the fight mirrors the bitter budget fight last year, when some Republicans tried to use the year-end spending bill
to punish sanctuary cities. GOP leaders, intent on avoiding a showdown with President Obama, rejected that option – riling conservatives.
The Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates an immigration crackdown, said some 9,000 criminals ICE had wanted to deport were instead released in the community by sanctuary cities in 2014.
More than a quarter of them had gone on to commit new crimes within a few months, according to Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the center.
"Now we’ll see if the Obama administration and the sanctuary jurisdictions will be willing to risk their funding in order to protect criminal aliens," she tells the Washington Times.
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