Attorney General Jeff Sessions laid out the Trump Administration policy tying availability of federal funds only to cities that comply and certify compliance with 8 U.S.C. Section 1373.
8 U.S.C. Section 1373 broadly discusses the communication between government agencies and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, including the obligation to respond to Inquiries.
Article I, Section 8, clause 4 of the United States Constitution specifically grants to Congress the power to establish a “uniform Rule of Naturalization.” For obvious reasons, you can’t have each of the 50 states determining their own criteria for citizenship. Currently, the federal laws provide for the removal or detention of illegal aliens “convicted or detained” in connection with certain crimes.
As Sessions pointed out, it is the responsibility of the executive branch, through the duty of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws. Currently, the Department of Justice is anticipating distributing $4.1 billion to city, state and local governments in the way of grants. Those grants will now be tied to both compliance and certification of compliance of 8 US.C. Section 1373. Sanctuary cities will lose their funding should they fail to comply.
Why should sanctuary cities’ federal funding be tied to compliance?
Sanctuary cities have begun to engage in a campaign of frustrating and circumventing the law regarding the detention requests performed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
According to Sessions, “In a single week there were over 200 incidents of refusal to comply with ICE detention requests of individuals charged or convicted of a serious crime including:
Hit and run;
Sex offenses against a child; and
Importantly, this will work to reduce states’ and local governments’ “willful failure” to comply with valid federal law.
Why should states and local governments benefit from federal funding when they simply choose to disregard federal law?