A line has been drawn in the sand, so to speak, and California lawmakers must make a critical decision: Enforce the laws on the books that would require local city, county and state law enforcement agencies to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) officials with regard to immigrants charged and/or convicted of crimes and reap the benefits of nearly $135 million in grants, or take what many perceive as a more humane approach and put its “sanctuary cities” first to keep families of immigrants facing possible deportation together. This comes as a Republican-majority Congress puts conditions on grants forcing the Department of Justice’s hand to comply with laws on the books.
“This irresponsible legislation has already caused the release of thousands of criminals that U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement was trying to deport,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Washington DC-based Center for Immigration Studies. “Now it may also cost California police and sheriffs critical funding from the federal government. Last year, these grants were worth more than $130 million.”