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Can The Government Legally Refuse Grants To Sanctuary Cities?

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel Speaks To The Press After City Council Meeting
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

That’s probably the next case that will be tested before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel (above) and other mayors of sanctuary cities are filing suit in federal court to make sure they get grants and funds promised them by the federal government.

You might remember years ago during the Middle East Oil Embargo when then President Carter threatened to withhold highway funds from any states that refused to lower their highway speeds to 55 mile per hour.

Montana retaliated with the famous $5 fine for speeding that you could pay on the spot.

Most people at the time thought that was an unconstitutional act but states never tested it in the court system.

Eventually it faded away. And Montana went to no speed limit for a number of years.

What’s The Legal Question?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been in the news lately by moving forward with the practice of withholding federal funds and grants from those cities that choose to disobey immigration laws already on the books.

Here are some segments of the Sessions memo:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday issued a memo defining sanctuary cities as those that refuse to share certain immigration status-related information with federal officials. It also narrows the scope of the federal funds that a jurisdiction would risk by not cooperating with immigration officials, limiting the grants to those overseen by the Justice Department or the Department of Homeland Security rather than all sources of federal funding.

Jurisdictions will be considered ineligible for certain grants if they “willfully refuse to comply” with U.S.C. 1373, which bans local governments from enacting policies that restrict or prohibit communications with the Department of Homeland Security “regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.”

The memo, sent to the Justice Department’s grant-making components, says state and local jurisdictions will be asked to certify their compliance with the law.

“This certification requirement will apply to any existing grant administered by the Office of Justice Programs and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services that expressly contains this certification condition and to future grants for which the Department is statutorily authorized to impose such a condition,” the memo states. (Source: Washington Times)

Some Final Thoughts

If you give your word about something I think that should stand. Previous grants and funds did not have immigration procedures tied to them in the last budget.

I have no problem withholding funds from future grants or awards as long as it’s so stated as a condition of accepting those funds or grants that cities can either accept or refuse.

Complying with government direction does put financial strain on city and state funds. It costs cities money to hold those waiting to be collected by ICE or other immigration services.

There are valid arguments on both sides of this issue but we can’t pick and choose which laws we will adhere to and those we won’t just because we disagree with them.

If the law is wrong in your opinion then you need to elect those that will change the law to conform within the constraints of the US Constitution. What do you think?

Comments below.

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