This week, a federal judge in San Francisco temporarily halted President Donald Trump’s executive order to withhold federal funding from sanctuary jurisdictions.
While this temporary injunction halts the withholding of a broad swath of federal funding, it does not inhibit the work I’ve done over the last year to stop sanctuary cities from receiving federal law enforcement grants. Last year, I worked with Attorney General Loretta Lynch to enforce 8 U.S.C § 1373, a law that says a government entity cannot in any way restrict the sharing of information regarding the immigration status of an individual. Basically, this law states that local governments can’t pass laws, enact policies or tell their police officers not to share information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. My goal is to prevent dangerous criminal illegal aliens from being released onto our streets after they serve their sentences in local and state jails.
As the Chairman of the Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee on Appropriations, I’m in charge of the Department of Justice’s funding. Using this power of the purse, I was able to persuade Attorney General Lynch to implement a new policy that prevents jurisdictions that ignore 8 U.S.C. § 1373 from receiving federal law enforcement grant funding.
This week’s ruling did not stop my efforts to withhold law enforcement funding from jurisdictions that ignore federal law.
In fact, the judge explicitly stated the injunction “does not impact the Government’s ability to use lawful means to enforce existing conditions of federal grants or 8 U.S.C. 1373.”
Just last week, Attorney General Sessions began an aggressive effort to enforce the policy I had put in place last summer by sending notices to nine jurisdictions requiring proof of compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373. If these jurisdictions cannot prove they’re in compliance, they will not receive federal law enforcement grant money in 2017. If they continue to refuse to cooperate with federal law enforcement authorities, they can be compelled to return every federal law enforcement dollar they’ve ever received.
Protecting our communities is not difficult; we just have to enforce the laws on the books. If jurisdictions refuse to follow these laws, then Congress has the ability to withhold grant funding. The Constitution vests the spending powers to Congress, and this week’s ruling stated that restrictions on federal funds be unambiguous, timely made, and bear some relation to the funds at issue. The efforts I’ve made fit these requirements and will continue to be enforced.
As your representative, I have kept my word to enforce the law, and I will continue to ensure that jurisdictions that choose to protect criminal illegal aliens will not receive our hard-earned tax dollars.
It is an honor and a privilege to represent you and Texas in the United States House.