White House Efforts to Cut Off Funding for Sanctuary Cities Slapped With Permanent Block

by E.A. Crunden – What the Trump administration is doing is “unconstitutional on its face,” Judge William Orrick wrote. A federal judge has permanently blocked President Trump’s efforts to bar cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration forces from receiving funding, the most decisive blow yet to the White House’s efforts to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities. In a ruling issued Monday, U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick ruled Trump’s January executive order seeking to cut off sanctuary cities from federal funding unconstitutional. The same judge put a hold on the executive order in April. “The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Executive Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds,” Orrick wrote in the latest decision. “Further, the Tenth Amendment requires that conditions on federal funds be unambiguous and timely made; that they bear some relation to the funds at issue; and that they not...

Read More...


DOJ ‘Bullying’ Cities Into Complying With Anti-Immigration Efforts

by Julia Conley – Attorney General Sessions orders city law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration agents. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is accusing the Justice Department of using harsh and the”bullying tactics” to force cities to comply with its immigration policies. The DOJ offered financial aid to 12 cities struggling with increased violent crime in June to help them combat gang activity and drug trafficking. But on Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent letters to four of the selected cities—Baltimore; Albuquerque, N.M.; Stockton, Calif.; and San Bernardino, Calif.—telling them that in order to receive the extra funding they would need to comply with federal immigration authorities. The cities’ leaders were ordered to give federal agents access to their jails and to notify immigration authorities before an undocumented immigrant is released from jail. “By protecting criminals from immigration enforcement, cities and states with so-called ‘sanctuary’ policies make all of us...

Read More...


Justice Department Again Threatens to Snatch Federal Grants from Sanctuary Cities

by Scott Shackford – Hundreds of millions in crime and court funding at stake. The Trump administration keeps trying to punish sanctuary cities that don’t cooperate in enforcing federal immigration policy, even though the feds don’t have the authority to demand all that much. The latest news is that the Department of Justice will attempt to tie a federal crime fighting block grant fund to three demands. Cities or states that want to receive the money must do the following: Prove compliance with federal law that bars cities or states from restricting communications between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about the immigration or citizenship status of a person in custody. Allow DHS officials access into any detention facility to determine the immigration status of any aliens being held. Give DHS 48 hours’ notice before a jail or prison releases a person when DHS has sent...

Read More...


14 Ways Trump Lost Bigly With the Budget Deal

by Ryan Koronowski – The “Art of the Deal.” Congressional negotiators reportedly agreed on a budget deal Sunday night to avert an impending government shutdown. And although the Trump administration talked a big — if confusing — game during negotiations over the past several weeks, it seems to have lost bigly. The $1 trillion deal, which will fund the government through September, is a six-months-overdue piece of major legislation that finishes out the budget for fiscal year 2017. Last week Congress passed, and Trump signed, a one-week extension that funded the government through this Friday at midnight, so passing a broader budget bill this week is essential to avoid a shutdown. Congress goes on recess next week. However, to keep the government open, the Trump administration had to give up, for the time being, large sections of its agenda: building Trump’s wall, defunding Planned Parenthood, and deeply cutting domestic programs, to name a few. 1. No...

Read More...


Monster Defeat for Trump and GOP: Budget Funds Planned Parenthood but Nothing for Wall

by David Nir – Late on Sunday evening, details emerged about a new spending agreement that congressional leaders had reached to keep the federal government open past this week, when current funding runs out, and through the end of September. The deal is looking like a huge victory for Democrats—and a massive failure for Donald Trump and his Republican Party: The bipartisan agreement includes $12.5 billion in new military spending and $1.5 billion more for border security, a major priority for Republican leaders in Congress. The agreement follows weeks of tense negotiations between Democrats and GOP leaders after President Trump insisted that the deal include funding to begin building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump eventually dropped that demand, leaving Congress to resolve lingering issues over several unrelated policy measures. The new border-security money comes with strict limitations that the Trump administration use it only for technology investments and repairs...

Read More...


Sanctuary Cities Explained

by GAIL ABLOW – The administration can’t define “sanctuary cities,” but it’s ready to punish them anyway. Last week Attorney General Jeff Sessions targeted nine jurisdictions — New Orleans; Philadelphia; Las Vegas; Miami; Milwaukee; New York City; the state of California; Chicago and Cook County, IL — demanding proof, by the end of June, that they have not illegally blocked communications between local law enforcement and federal officials regarding the immigration status of inmates, or they stand to lose federal funds for police force equipment, training and data collection. The demand implies they are all “sanctuary cities,” but no one in the administration has provided a clear definition of what that designation means. A number of mayors from across the country headed this week to the Justice Department in Washington, DC to ask Sessions directly. From what we have learned, there may still be no clear answer. What is a sanctuary...

Read More...


Sanctuary Cities ‘Stand Resolute’ in Face of Threatened Funding Cut-Off

by Nadia Prupis – Officials from country’s largest urban centers strategized on sheltering undocumented immigrants after White House announced plan to withhold federal aid. Sanctuary cities are refusing to back down in the face of the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration, which was codified on Monday after Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to cut off funding for states and cities that shelter undocumented residents. Officials from many of those jurisdictions met in New York on Tuesday to discuss how to fight the plan—the second consecutive day of brainstorming from leaders of some of the country’s biggest urban centers, as Reuters noted. The strategy session brought in attendees from California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington state, Wisconsin, and elsewhere. It was preceded by the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), a left-leaning advocacy group, releasing a guide and toolkit on protecting undocumented immigrants. The blueprint, published last week, aims to help local-level policymakers “create...

Read More...


DOJ to Crack Down on Sanctuary Cities by Denying and Clawing Back Federal Grants

by Zack Ford – At Monday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer turned the podium over to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced a plan to cut Office of Justice Programs grants to sanctuary cities — those that choose not to turn over undocumented immigrants to federal officials for deportation. “Today I’m urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws, including 8 U.S. Code § 1373,” Sessions explained. That law states that no government entity can restrict sharing information with the Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding individuals’ citizenship or immigration status. “Moreover, the Department of Justice will require that jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department of Justice grants to certify compliance with 1373 as a condition of receiving those awards.” Not complying with 1373, Sessions warned, could “result in withholding grants, termination of grants, and disbarment or ineligibility for future grants.” He added that the Department of Justice...

Read More...


Immigrant Communities Battle New Anti-Sanctuary-City Bills in Red States

by Candice Bernd, Truthout | Report – Emboldened by President Trump’s executive order withholding federal funds from “sanctuary” jurisdictions, Republican-dominated state legislatures are seeking to deny their own state funds to counties or cities refusing to comply with federal immigration authorities. Several states, including Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Idaho and Pennsylvania have introduced measures that would require police agencies to hold anyone in custody until US Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) can determine if they should be deported, or potentially lose state funding. Some states are going even farther than that. In Ohio, state lawmakers introduced a bill that would hold local officials accountable for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in the officials’ sanctuary jurisdictions. Legislators in Colorado have introduced legislation that would let victims of particular crimes committed by undocumented immigrants sue the politicians who supported a sanctuary designation. Alaska and Maine are now reportedly considering similar...

Read More...


Sheriffs Still Looking for Clarity on Deportation

by Tim Henderson – Despite tough talk on sanctuary cities from the Trump administration, many sheriffs still fear that they lack the legal right to hold prisoners for possible deportation, even at the request of federal authorities. Sheriffs, who operate 85 percent of local jails, are still waiting for courts to clarify the legality of “detainers,” or federal requests to hold prisoners for possible deportation. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Jan. 25 promising to punish any “sanctuary jurisdictions” that “attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States.” The order threatened cuts to federal funding and public shaming of “any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers.” But the new administration in Washington hasn’t altered the legal landscape — at least not yet. Court rulings over the past several years have dissuaded even red-state sheriffs from honoring detainers, fearing that doing so would make them...

Read More...


Protesters Flood Texas Capitol as Committee Debates Sanctuary Cities Bill

by JULIÁN AGUILAR for The Texas Tribune – Hundreds of opponents of a controversial immigration proposal descended on the state Capitol Thursday as senators began the process of getting the bill to the governor’s desk.  Even as groups shouted down at them from the state Capitol’s Senate gallery, Republican lawmakers on Thursday held steady in their attempt to move a controversial immigration law past its first procedural hurdle. Senate Bill 4, by state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, seeks to outlaw sanctuary cities, the common term for local governments that don’t enforce immigration laws. It is being heard in a Senate committee Thursday and if voted out, will make its way to the full Senate for a vote. The proposal would allow local police to enforce immigration laws if the officer is working with a federal immigration officer or under an agreement between the local and federal agency. It would also punish local governments...

Read More...


A Radical Expansion of Sanctuary: Steps in Defiance of Trump’s Executive Order

by Marisa Franco, Truthout | Op-Ed – A moment of stinging clarity is now upon us. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to set in motion the process of building a wall along the US-Mexico border, stripping federal funding from sanctuary cities, increasing the size of US Border Patrol forces and increasing deportations. In response, we must plunge even more urgently into the hard local work of building sanctuary. A year ago, my team at #Not1More Deportation and I drafted this reflection on the nature of sanctuary: We are from a lineage of our community who made a way when there was no way, who provided political and spiritual cover so the rest of us could come ahead …. When we seek to enter movement, and we converge, these spaces, they are sacred, because they are a form of sanctuary. Sanctuary is a spiritual stance. Sanctuary says: oppression is trying...

Read More...


Former Mayor of ”Nazi City USA” Pushes Legislation to Defund Sanctuary Cities

by Shane Ralston, Truthout | News Analysis – Donald Trump offered Congressman Lou Barletta the post of secretary of labor in his new administration. Surprisingly, Barletta declined. The reason is now clear: Barletta will champion the cause of slashing funding to sanctuary cities in his next term, a cause that is near and dear to Trump’s heart. From 2000 to 2011, Barletta was the divisive mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, who championed the “Illegal Immigration Relief Act” (IIRA), an ordinance that would have penalized landlords and business owners for transacting with undocumented immigrants, if it had not been struck down by federal courts as unconstitutional. Barletta rose to national prominence as a hardline “law-and-order” mayor, a so-called “small town defender,” Tea Party Republican and virulent critic of the Obama administration’s immigration policy. After two failed attempts at securing a congressional seat, he finally achieved success during his third campaign in...

Read More...


Sanctuary Cities Vow to Defend ‘Basic Human Decency’ From Trump

by Andrea Germanos – With Donald Trump‘s inauguration just over a month away, it will soon become clear whether he intends on using beginning days in the White House to try to follow through on his promise to end federal funding for sanctuary cities. Scores of such cities, however, are standing resolute, with officials from over three dozen of them publicly reaffirming their commitment to “basic human decency.” Sanctuary cities, sometimes called Fourth Amendment cities, as The Atlantic‘s CityLab has described, offer some protection to undocumented immigrants because they “keep local policing and federal immigration enforcement separate by asking local police to decline ‘detainers’—non-binding requests from ICE asking for extended detention of inmates they suspect are deportable.” In contrast to claims made by proponents of harsh immigrant crackdowns, research has shown that “designating a city as a sanctuary has no statistically significant effect on crime.” In fact, it is harsh immigration...

Read More...


How Ted Cruz Responded To A Challenge To Reconcile His Anti-Immigrant Stance With The Bible

by KIRA LERNER – KALONA, IA — On Tuesday morning, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz spoke to a crowd of Iowa voters from a small hotel in rural eastern Iowa. As he spoke, calling for tightening immigration enforcement and securing the borders, he stood in front of a wall painted with the words of Matthew 11:28 — “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Following his remarks, Roger Farmer, a Mennonite from eastern Iowa, asked Cruz to reconcile his support for deportation with those words from the Bible. “The Bible says we should welcome the stranger and the immigrant,” he said. “That verse on the wall behind you says a similar thing. Your policies seem to be in opposition to that.”  “The fact that we lock our doors doesn’t mean we hate our next door neighbors,” he said, before going...

Read More...