Biden Restores Grants for Sanctuary Jurisdictions Protecting Illegal Aliens
President Joe Biden’s administration is restoring taxpayer-funded federal grants for sanctuary jurisdictions that shield criminal illegal aliens from arrest and deportation, reversing former President Trump’s policy.
In 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions implemented a policy that made sanctuary jurisdictions ineligible for local law enforcement grants under the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Byrne JAG program.
The Byrne JAG program provides millions every year in federal grant money to local law enforcement agencies, but Sessions warned sanctuary jurisdictions in 2017 that they would not be able to receive their annual grant funding if they continued shielding criminal illegal aliens from federal immigration law.
The initiative, like many of Trump’s policies, ended up in federal court. In July 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the DOJ can withhold grants to sanctuary jurisdictions. Then, in February 2020, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals made a similar ruling, in favor of the policy.
Now, though, Reuters reports that Biden’s DOJ with Attorney General Merrick Garland at the helm is restoring the Byrne JAG grants to sanctuary jurisdictions:
The U.S. Justice Department has repealed a policy put in place during Donald Trump’s presidency that cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. [Emphasis added]
In an internal memo seen by Reuters, acting head of the Office of Justice Programs Maureen Henneberg said that prior grant recipients, including cities, counties and states that were recipients of the department’s popular $250 million annual grant program for local law enforcement, will no longer be required to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a condition of their funding. [Emphasis added]
The policy had successfully prevented sanctuary states like New York from receiving more than $30 million in DOJ grant money over the last four years, the New York Attorney General’s Office told Reuters.
“Even [Obama’s Attorney General] Loretta Lynch had agreed to block DOJ grants to sanctuaries,” Jessica Vaughan with the Center for Immigration Studies noted.
The DOJ reversal is only the latest from the Biden administration that seemingly incentivizes illegal immigration. This week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memo to federal immigration officials that they are not to arrest most criminal illegal aliens in courthouses.
That policy change came right after DHS officials announced they would no longer fine illegal aliens who refused to depart the U.S. after stating that they would.