REPORT: Justice Department Opens Grants To ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Who Refuse To Cooperate With ICE

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The Justice Department has reportedly restored grants to sanctuary cities that refused to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

The move repeals a policy put in place during the administration of former President Donald Trump that restricted the funding, Reuters reported Wednesday. Maureen Henneberg, acting head of the Office of Justice Programs, said in an internal memo obtained by the outlet that cities, counties and states would no longer have to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to receive the Justice Department’s annual grant money.

Henneberg told staff to “pull down and revise all solicitations that describe requirements or priority consideration elements or criteria pertaining to immigration,” according to the memo. “These solicitations will be reposted and grantees will be required to reapply.” (RELATED: ‘Prey Upon The Public’: Trump Hits Sanctuary Cities During State Of The Union Address)

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants program, or “Bryne JAG,” is used for state and local law enforcement to pay for initiatives like prosecutions, corrections programs, and treatment centers for drugs or mental health, according to Reuters. The program is named for a New York City police officer who was killed in the line of duty. Last year, the program paid more than $253 million in grants.

After some cities and states pushed back on Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration, the former president’s administration began withholding the funding for places that adopted “sanctuary” policies. Many places including Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco sued the Justice Department claiming that the move was unlawful. In February of 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in one lawsuit that withholding the funding was legal.