The Justice Department said Wednesday it has begun distributing hundreds of millions of dollars in grant money that had been tied up in a major court battle over sanctuary cities.
Byrne Justice Assistance Grants are used by localities and police departments across the nation to pay for equipment, training, personnel or other pressing needs.
The Trump administration last year said it would condition the money on localities’ willingness to cooperate in holding illegal immigrants for pickup by federal deportation officers. Chicago sued, saying the conditions weren’t part of federal law.
A federal district judge had ruled for Chicago, but issued a nationwide injunction saying the conditions couldn’t be applied to any Byrne grants.
The Justice Department put nearly $200 million in 2017 money on hold as the case proceeded.
Prominent Democratic pollster Mark Penn said on Thursday that a vast majority of Americans don’t really support so-called sanctuary cities that shield immigrants in the country illegally from deportation.
Penn, who served as chief strategist for Hillary Clinton‘s 2008 presidential campaign, revealed that 84 percent of Americans favor turning undocumented immigrants over to federal agents.
“I asked them, ‘Do you think notifying ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] would in fact increase crime because it would inhibit people from reporting crimes or does it decrease crimes because it takes criminals off the street,’ and they overwhelming said ‘decrease,’ ” Penn told Hill.TV’s “Rising.”
Penn said the response was strikingly “out of sync” with what the public might think about sanctuary cities. The broad term refers to cities that don’t fully cooperate with federal authorities when it comes to turning over people in the country illegally to immigration enforcement.
“When someone’s arrested, they expect someone will notify federal immigration authorities just as they would expect someone who violates state tax law will find out that they notified the IRS,” the pollster said.