NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana – President-Elect Donald Trump will not have to do much when it comes to prosecuting sanctuary cities, USA Today notes.
In a new report by USA Today, sanctuary cities can be expected to find themselves on the receiving end of a Trump administration that has “broad powers” in terms of cracking down on their refusal to hand illegal immigrants over to federal authorities:
Donald Trump, with a little help from Congress, will have broad presidential powers to crack down on “sanctuary cities” that protect undocumented immigrants from his planned roundup and deportation of millions who are in the country illegally.
In what could become a major conflict between the new president and local governments, the showdown likely will result in legal challenges testing how far the White House can go in dictating its priorities.
Trump will be armed with a range of powerful options, including federal lawsuits and the power to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in grants that states and cities rely on.
Director for the Center for Immigration Studies Jessica Vaughan said the Trump administration’s main goal should be getting sanctuary cities to switch direction, but if they are unwilling, it will have no other choice but to take up a legal battle.
“The point is not to go around whacking all these little cities and counties, it’s to get them to do the right thing,” Vaughan told USA Today. “And for the die-hards, to confront them.”
For the Trump administration, USA Today says there are two simple routes to prosecuting sanctuary cities: Lawsuits and grant money.
With Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)–a longtime opponent of illegal immigration–likely to become U.S. Attorney General, sanctuary cities could be getting themselves into legal trouble if they choose to take up the battle.
As USA Today notes, Sessions as Attorney General will be able to sue sanctuary localities “on the grounds that they are violating federal law by refusing to cooperate with immigration enforcement.”
The other option to take on sanctuary cities, possibly the harsher choice, is stripping federal grant money and funding, which would leave some major cities like Chicago and Los Angeles with a shortage of millions of dollars on their hands.
USA Today admits that not only would Trump have “broad powers” in terms of cutting off sanctuary cities, but Sessions as Attorney General would hold the most power leverage over those cities’ funds.
The Trump administration has the power to cut off much of that funding. For example, Justice’s State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, or SCAAP, distributed $165 million in 2015 to local agencies that detained undocumented immigrants in its jails.
As many as 40 cities across the country, including New York and Dallas County, have pledged to risk federal funding in order to continue shielding illegal immigrants from immigration law, as Breitbart Texas reported.
Cities like Chicago and Seattle have even gone as far as to set or plan legal funds to help pay for migrants’ battles with the Trump administration to oppose individual cases of deportation.
There are over 300 sanctuary cities nationwide.