A judge ruled Thursday that the U.S. Department of Justice cannot attempt to force local jurisdictions to comply with federal immigration policies to receive a public safety grant.
Los Angeles filed the lawsuit last year, and the ruling from U.S. District Judge Manuel Real created a nationwide precedent that prevents the Justice Department from tying local immigration enforcement policies to the Community Oriented Policing Services grant.
California police forces, including the San Diego Police Department, have received millions in dollars in funding through the program over the years.
“This is a complete victory, and this is yet another dagger in the heart of the administration’s efforts to use federal funds as a weapon to make local jurisdictions complicit in its civil immigration enforcement policies,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer at a news conference with Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.
“We won’t be bullied and we can’t be bought,” Beck said. “You cannot force us to go against our philosophies, to go against our principles, by withholding money.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions in 2017 said jurisdictions that receive a COPS grant would need to commit to a number of new rules, including notifying immigration agents before releasing jail inmates, and giving federal agents access to their detention facilities and data files.
Sessions has defended the new policies as necessary to help fight illegal immigration.
“So-called ‘sanctuary’ policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes,” Sessions said when he announced the guidelines. “These policies also encourage illegal immigration and even human trafficking by perpetuating the lie that in certain cities, illegal aliens can live outside the law.”
— From Staff and Wire Reports
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