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Political Editors / Mar. 18, 2016

Republicans Seek to Deny Funds to Sanctuary Cities

"They can keep their policy; just don't ask for federal money."

During a congressional hearing about the budget of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency’s director publically accused five major cities of ignoring ICE’s requests to detain illegal immigrants charged with crimes. Sarah Saldana said Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle do not honor the requests from ICE to detain certain individuals to give the agency a chance to deport them. Some tell ICE after the fact that they had the illegal immigrant in custody, but then released them.

This matters because the Obama administration’s deportation policies are currently to deport only the worst of the worst — the illegal immigrants who have committed major crimes. The cities’ catch-and-release method of law enforcement has fomented a crime spree. One of the more well-known victims being Kathryn Steinle, who was shot in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant who was deported five times, yet still freely walked the city’s streets. In response, congressional Republicans are looking to stop sending money to the self-avowed sanctuary cities. “They can keep their policy; just don’t ask for federal money,” Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) said. Similarly, even the Obama Justice Department has warned those cities that federal grant money going to law enforcement needs is imperiled if the cities continue to stymie ICE.

While the federal government is gearing up for a funding fight with these cities over immigration enforcement, a lot can be said of a candidate’s respect for Rule of Law depending on where they fall on the issue. Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has had a worrying track record on the issue. He rose to the front of the GOP pack because of his strong words on immigration. Yet in 2011 and 2013, Trump gave a total of $6,000 to the re-election campaign of California Attorney General Kamala Harris, one of the nation’s most ardent supporters of sanctuary city policies. If he becomes president, which Trump will we get? Will he be the tough-on-illegal-immigration candidate? Or will he break campaign promises and back the wards of sanctuary cities?

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