Republican launches fresh push to defund sanctuary cities after courts block Trump

Thursday, May 23, 2019
By Paul Martin

By Adam Shaw
Fox News

: Republicans are renewing their fight against “sanctuary cities,” with a new bill that aims to pull immigration funding from those jurisdictions that shield illegal immigrants from deportation – while protecting law enforcement officials who follow federal law.

The bill, introduced by House freshman Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, seeks to cut off federal law enforcement grants to states that do not comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests. Gooden, speaking to Fox News, said the cuts are focused and designed to sting scofflaw states without harming key enforcement priorities.

“We’re not targeting terrorism preparedness, drug enforcement or other DHS grants unrelated to immigration,” he said. “This is in no way going to disrupt law enforcement practices that are ongoing as respect to those grants.”

The push is a more targeted version of a stalled effort by the Trump administration that sought to cut law enforcement grants from sanctuary areas in 2017. The Justice Department wrote to 29 sanctuary jurisdictions in November 2017, saying it intended to withhold law enforcement grants due to their policies.

However, the move was hit by a series of court challenges and, of those jurisdictions, only Oregon has yet to be cleared to receive the grants from 2017, a Justice Department spokesman told The Associated Press in March.

Gooden says his bill pairs with the immigration proposal announced last week by President Trump. Trump unveiled overhauls that primarily deal with legal immigration, but this bill focuses on the fight against illegal immigration and efforts to stall immigration enforcement.

A unique part of the bill is a provision that protects law enforcement officers who comply with ICE detainers against liability and gives them immunity in any lawsuit filed by detained illegal immigrants. It also makes it illegal for a jurisdiction to fire or discriminate against a law enforcement officer for complying with an ICE detainer.

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