Department of Justice (DOJ) grant programs fund sanctuary states and localities that undermine immigration law and protect illegal aliens from federal authorities, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Center for Immigration Studies.
The report focuses on three federal funding programs— the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), the Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (JAG), and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.
More than 40 percent of the available funds across these three programs were awarded to sanctuary cities, despite having adopted policies that hinder immigration law enforcement by federal agencies.
The Center for Immigration Studies found that nearly $300 million was allocated to sanctuary jurisdictions in 2021 alone.
The top recipients of the DOJ funds include Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Portland, Maine, received $207,004 in 2021 from the COPS program to help fund community policing efforts, according to the report.
Portland codified its status as a sanctuary city in 2017, under an ordinance which directed local authorities not to comply with federal immigration detainers of criminal aliens.
President Donald Trump used an executive order in 2017 to block sanctuary jurisdictions from receiving federal funds until they complied with federal immigration law.
This led several jurisdictions, such as Miami-Dade County in Florida, to change their policies, while others refused to change and filed federal lawsuits.
In 2021, President Joe Biden rescinded the Trump-era rules barring sanctuary jurisdictions from receiving federal funds.
“These sanctuary policies, many of which have been found to be a violation of federal law, protect illegal aliens who have been arrested and flagged by ICE for removal. So the sanctuary policies are protecting criminal aliens, not asylum seekers,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies.
Vaughan recommends that “Congress should restrict eligibility for SCAAP funding to those jurisdictions that actively participate in immigration law enforcement programs such as Secure Communities, the Criminal Alien Program, or the 287(g) program.”
SCAAP reimburses state and local prisons and jails for a portion of the cost of incarcerating illegal aliens who were held on state or local charges.
58 percent of the SCAAP funding in 2021 went to sanctuary jurisdictions.
“States can follow the example of Texas, Florida, and eight other states which penalize or prohibit local sanctuary policies,” Vaughan added.
According to the Center for Immigration Studies, certain policies adopted by sanctuary jurisdictions are in violation of federal law (8 USC 1373 and 1644), which prohibits any government entity or official from restricting local officials from communicating with federal immigration authorities about an individual’s immigration status.