San Francisco stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in Department of Justice grant funding designed to steer people away from drugs and out of jail after the Trump administration announced new rules designed to punish sanctuary cities.
But even as San Francisco leaders said Wednesday that they received $1.5 million last year from the program targeted by the administration, they said their pro-immigrant policies complied with federal law and could not be invoked to deny such aid.
According to the new guidelines for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program — the largest federal criminal justice funding program — local jurisdictions must allow agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, into their jails to meet with people thought to lack citizenship.
They must also notify ICE at least two days before releasing an inmate wanted for deportation, so that federal agents can pick them up, according to the rules. San Francisco’s sanctuary laws limit the city’s cooperation with immigration agents, and jail officials must only notify ICE about an inmate’s release if the person’s rap sheet fits a strict criteria.
“So-called ‘sanctuary’ policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Sessions announced the changes to the grant’s requirements on Tuesday amid a barrage of criticism from President Trump over his decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election.
San Francisco has been a focus of the debate over sanctuary laws in part because of the July 2015 killing of Kate Steinle on Pier 14. The illegal immigrant accused in the shooting had been recently released from San Francisco jail rather than turned over to immigration agents under the city’s sanctuary policies.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle