Trump handed ‘trigger’ to end sanctuary cities
Dec. 5, 2016: Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, announced he had a plan already in place that would likely eliminate sanctuary cities on Day 1 of the Trump administration.
At least 14 cities spoke out defiantly in the wake of Donald Trump’s surprise election victory in 2016, saying they would continue to offer sanctuary to illegal criminal aliens regardless of Trump’s attempts to end the sanctuaries, Culberson said.
But Culberson said the power of the purse is something Congress has at its disposal, and he sought to help Trump shut off the flow of federal dollars to sanctuary cities.
As chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on commerce, justice and science, Culberson said he acted on July 7, 2016, to notify the Department of Justice that it would need to change its policy.
“I have quietly installed an off-switch that the Department of Justice and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, at my request, changed official DOJ policy on July 7 and notified every state and city in the country that unless you comply 100 percent of the time with federal requests to deport criminal illegal aliens in your jails or prisons, you will lose all your federal law enforcement money,” Culberson told Shannon Bream of Fox News.
“That’s been the policy at the DOJ since July 7. I just didn’t make a lot of noise about it because I didn’t want the Obama administration to crawfish on us. So it’s done. It’s in place. And at noon on Jan. 20, if President Trump decides to do so, he could throw this switch I created and turn off all the federal law enforcement money to the top 10 sanctuary cities in America including the entire of state of California. New York City and Chicago? Lights out on Jan. 20 if he chooses.”
Money flowing into local police departments and sheriff’s agencies through the Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, grants and the Byrne-JAG grants, which fund miscellaneous police spending, would dry up, he said.
Some sanctuary cities threatened to sue the federal government if the money was turned off. But to them, Culberson said, don’t waste your time.
“Suing will not do them any good. This is their decision. This is the law now, as a result of what I’ve done on July 7. If you want federal money, follow federal law,” he told Bream. “You must hand over every criminal illegal alien in your prisons to fed authorities to be deported immediately or you lose all your money.”
Two of the most outspoken mayors were Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and Bill De Blasio of New York City, along with mayors in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami and Minneapolis.
Culberson said they’d have to put their money where their mouths are. The policy can even be enforced retroactively if need be.
“If Mayor Emanuel and Mayor De Blasio continue to refuse to comply with federal requests to hand over these dangerous criminal aliens in their custody, not only do they lose their money but the policy the DOJ put in place at my request says they will owe a refund of every dollar they ever received from these grant programs over the last 10 years,” he said.
“That means the state of California, if they don’t change, they will have to write us, the U.S. taxpayer, a check for $1.2 billion,” Culberson continued. “New York City will owe us as taxpayers $211 million, and Rahm Emanuel, get your checkbook out, you’re going to have to write America a check for $91.2 million if you don’t comply with requests to hand over these dangerous criminals.
“And that’s what we’re talking about, Shannon, criminals convicted of crimes who were here illegally, who should be deported immediately when they finish their sentence, that’s all we’re talking about. Follow federal law or don’t ask for federal money.”
Watch Rep. John Culberson’s full interview with Shannon Bream of Fox News:
President Trump tried exactly that four days after his inauguration. But in November 2017, a federal judge blocked his executive order, ruling that withholding federal funds from sanctuary cities is unconstitutional.