LA mayor vows to fight as Trump administration seeks to weed out ‘sanctuary city’ funding

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Responding to the latest warnings by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that Department of Justice funds will be withheld from sanctuary cities, Mayor Eric Garcetti said today he will fight efforts by the Trump administration to take away federal funding needed for law enforcement in Los Angeles.

Garcetti said that such actions would be unconstitutional, adding that the city’s policies are “designed to keep our residents safe.”

“Slashing funds for first-responders, for our port and airport, for counterterrorism, crime-fighting and community-building serves no one – not this city, not the federal government, not the American people,” he said. “We will fight to protect the safety and dignity of all Angelenos, and we will work closely with our representatives in Congress to make sure that Los Angeles does not go without federal resources that help protect millions of people every day.”

Among the Department of Justice grants received by the city of Los Angeles in recent years include $1.8 million from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program, which go toward programs to reduce criminal gang activity.

Los Angeles city was also awarded $1 million last year from the Department of Justice toward a $69 million program to equip all LAPD officers with body cameras.

It was not immediately clear how much funding could be at risk if Los Angeles were deemed a sanctuary city.

Sessions said local jurisdictions seeking U.S. Department of Justice grants must first demonstrate they are not sanctuary cities, by proving they are in compliance with Section 1373 of U.S. Code Title 8, which requires notification of federal officials about the immigration status of people in local custody. The policy was issued under the Barack Obama administration in 2016.

Garcetti does not refer to Los Angeles as a “sanctuary city,” and said in January that it is a “myth that we don’t collaborate or cooperate with federal officials.”

Los Angeles operates under Special Order 40, which prohibits Los Angeles police officers from approaching to ask about immigration status, or arresting people in connection with immigration-related violations. The policy also requires police officials to inform federal immigration officials of any “undocumented alien” who is arrested for multiple misdemeanor violations, high-level misdemeanor or felony offense violations or for a repeat offense.

Garcetti also said in January that he feels the city has a strong legal case for keeping its federal funding, saying that the city is protected by the 10th Amendment that lays out states’ rights.


The 10th Amendment was recently invoked to throw out provisions in the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, to mandate what states needed to do to obtain federal funding.

“We are absolutely prepared in the courts — together with the other cities and states — to reaffirm what the Supreme Court literally just decided last year on the 10th Amendment,” he said.

“You can take away funding for a specific program if you don’t adhere to specific requirements of that program, but we don’t have funding that is for the co-cooperation of our immigration federal officials and our local officials,” he said.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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