Published: Tue, May 23, 2017
Culture&Arts | By Sandra Brady

Trump seeks reconsideration of sanctuary cities ruling

Trump seeks reconsideration of sanctuary cities ruling

SAN FRANCISCO The U.S. Justice Department on Monday asked a federal judge to reconsider a ruling which blocked President Donald Trump's attempt to cut off federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities, citing a new memo from the attorney general. "Consistent with this authority, over the years, the Department has tailored grants to focus on, among other things, homeland security, violent crime (including drug and gang activity), and domestic violence", Sessions wrote.

WASHINGTON ― After months of bluster about taking away federal law enforcement grants from jurisdictions that don't fully cooperate with deportation efforts, the U.S. Department of Justice acknowledged on Monday what legal experts have said for months: In most cases, the department can't do that.

Reached late Monday, a spokesperson for Elorza said the administration's initial review of Sessions' memo suggests Providence is not at risk of being labeled a sanctuary city and losing federal funds.

His new memo also signals that for future grants, federal authorities may prioritize places that honor requests to detain people in local law enforcement custody to give federal officials time to arrive.

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The judge issued the ruling in response to two lawsuits, one brought by the city of San Francisco, the other by Santa Clara County. "The rapid downward trajectory of civil rights enforcement under United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions in his first 100 days in office can not be ignored", Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said in a statement.

A Justice Department memo issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions limits the scope of the federal financial threat to communities self-designated as "sanctuary cities".

Providence doesn't allow its police officers to question individuals about their immigration status, but there is no ordinance on the books that prohibits city employees - including cops - from sharing information with the federal government if they do learn that a person is in the country illegally. It sent warning letters to nine localities in April.

In his memo, Sessions cites 8 US Code 1373, which states that local governments can not restrict government employees from communicating with federal officers about individuals who may not be in the country illegally. "The federal government can't hold a gun to the head of cities and counties and force them to spend their limited police resources on immigration enforcement".

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