DOJ rescinds Trump-era 'sanctuary cities' policy

DOJ rescinds Trump-era 'sanctuary cities' policy
© Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandCapitol riot fuels debate over domestic terror laws Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Biden officials testify that white supremacists are greatest domestic security threat MORE has rescinded a Trump-era memo blocking so-called sanctuary cities from receiving funding from the Department of Justice.

A memo limiting $250 million in funding to local police departments if they didn’t agree to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials  was issued by then-Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOne quick asylum fix: How Garland can help domestic violence survivors Biden fills immigration court with Trump hires Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: report MORE in 2017 following an executive order by former President TrumpDonald TrumpFranklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Man suspected in wife's disappearance accused of casting her ballot for Trump Stefanik: Cheney is 'looking backwards' MORE

Garland rescinded that in a memo signed two weeks ago, and a new memo obtained by Reuters Wednesday directs the Justice Department to reinitiate the process on any pending grants that would have required cooperation with immigration authorities.


“The Department informed grant recipients and applicants that they will continue receiving certain Department grants without making certifications,” the Justice Department writes on its community-oriented policing page.

“The Department will also cease giving priority consideration to grant applicants that accept conditions similar to those requirements.”

Trump’s executive order, signed just days after taking office, was one of several policies enacted during his administration seeking to punish left-leaning cities by withholding federal funding.

“We cannot faithfully execute the immigration laws of the United States if we exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” Trump wrote in the memo. 

He later signed a memo seeking to restrict funding to “anarchist jurisdictions,” targeting New York, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Ore.

At the tail end of the Trump administration, the Supreme Court declined to take an appeal from the White House seeking to overturn a 9th Circuit Court ruling in favor of sanctuary cities. The lower court determined local law enforcement had no obligation to assist immigration officers.