*Practice limited to federal immigration law. Licensed in NY, MA, but not in CA.

What Will Happen to Sanctuary Cities if They Lose Government Funding?

President Donald Trump has long been a critic of sanctuary cities. During the 2016 campaign, and upon taking office, the president has made threats to cut off federal funding from sanctuary jurisdictions. In late July, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a move that is turning some of the president’s bluster on the issue of sanctuary cities into real policy action. In an attempt to twist the arms of city leaders to get them to drop their sanctuary status, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has declared that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is eliminating up to $385 million in grant money to sanctuary cities.

The Real World Consequences of Losing Funding

The grant money that the Department of Justice wants to withhold is significant. The City of Los Angeles is poised to lose out on more than $10 million due to this action alone. Further, it is possible that the city could lose out on additional federal funds that are granted through programs from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other federal agencies. The Trump Administration has declared that it will not restore this funding until cities in question change their sanctuary policies. Further, the administration has implied that more funding cuts could be coming to these cities in the future.

Not So Fast: Los Angeles and Other Cities Are Fighting Back

There are major questions over the legality of what the U.S. Department of Justice is currently doing. Los Angeles, and several other cities including Chicago, have filed a joint lawsuit against the DOJ. These cities, which all wish to retain their sanctuary status, are making the case that the federal government lacks the legal authority to cut off grant money for the purposes of pressuring them into changing their policy. Specifically, L.A.’s lawsuit argues that the DOJ’s attempt to cut off funding is unconstitutional.

Though it is settled law that the federal government can put conditions on grant money, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the federal government’s conditions must be narrowly tailored and that they must be germane to the actual, original purposes of the funding. Should Los Angeles lose its DOJ grant funding, the city’s law enforcement will lose considerable resources: jobs will be cut, equipment will not be purchased and there could be other adverse consequences. Still, many legal observers believe that Los Angeles and other sanctuary cities have a good case, and that the city could prevail in the lawsuit against the DOJ. Our firm will keep a close watch on any future development on this and all other immigration law issues.

Contact a Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer for Immediate Immigration Help

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we have extensive experience serving immigrants in L.A. If you or a loved one needs legal assistance, please call us today at (213) 514-8870 to set up your initial immigration consultation. From our office in Downtown L.A., we represent clients in communities throughout the region.

Josh Goldstein
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