By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, July 13, 2016, US Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) released a statement supporting the new updated guidelines by the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding sanctuary cities receiving federal grant funding.
Senator Shelby wrote, “For more than a year I have urged Attorney General Lynch to put an end to funding for municipalities that deliberately obstruct policies to remove illegal immigrants who have committed crimes. After the tragic death of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco last July, it became even more critical for action to be taken against sanctuary cities that blatantly ignore federal immigration removal policies.”
Alabama’s senior Senator continued, “While this decision by the Department is long overdue, I am pleased that it has finally heeded my concerns. This sensible policy will force local governments to either receive federal grant money and follow the law or protect criminal illegal immigrants with no federal assistance. America is a nation of laws and I believe it is only right that those who refuse to follow the law be penalized. It is my hope that the rule of law will now be fully and fairly applied.”
Senator Shelby had sent a letter to Attorney General Lynch to make this change.
Sen. Shelby said in 2015: “Municipalities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration laws simply should not receive the Department of Justice’s assistance funding. The freedoms we enjoy – like strolling on a San Francisco pier with our children – are possible only when we are willing to enforce the federal laws that keep our families and our freedoms safe.”
In a letter to Sen. Shelby, Assistant Attorney General Peter J Kadzik wrote that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had performed an inspector general (IG) review after receiving a letter from Sen. Shelby. Following that IG report the DOJ has determined that applicants for the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program and the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) must comply with all federal laws including Section 1373 (which was brought up by Sen. Shelby).
Kadzik wrote, “Consistent with our commitment to you and the recommendations received from the IG, on July 7, 2016 the Department’s Office of Justice Program (OJP) – which has determined that Section 1373 is an applicable federal law for the purposes of JAG and SCAAP – provided the enclosed guidance on the requirements of Section 1373 to all such applicants.” The Department has sent clarification of the meaning of Section 1373 and that applicants, including existing grant holders, must comply with the already existing Section 1373 of federal law.
Title 8 United States Code Section 1373 addresses the exchange and sharing of information regarding citizenship and immigration status among federal, state, and local government entities and officials. Subsection (a) prevents federal, state, and local government entities and officials from “prohibit[ing] or in any way restrict[ing]” government officials from sending to, or receiving from, federal immigration officials information pertaining to concerning an individual’s citizenship or immigration status.
A Republican Bill outlawing sanctuary cities from receiving federal grant dollars was recently blocked by the Democrats in the U.S. Senate.
Senator Shelby is the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.