Immigration & Justice

35 Prosecutors & Law Enforcement Leaders Say D.O.J.’s Anti-Sanctuary Threats Wreak Havoc With Public Safety

Celeste Fremon
Written by Celeste Fremon

On Wednesday, regional law enforcement leaders from across the nation signed on to support a State of California lawsuit challenging the U.S. Justice Department’s threat to yank crucial federal grants from the cities that don’t go along with the feds demand for local police and sheriffs to work with ICE on immigration enforcement.

Last month, U.S. District Judge William Orrick slapped down efforts by President Donald Trump on a related issue when the judge ruled that the president’s executive order to cut funding from sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities was unconstitutional.

Basically, Judge Orrick said that under the U.S. Constitution, Trump cannot set new conditions on spending approved by Congress.

But Orrick’s ruling didn’t end the intense legal fight over the issue of using federal funding as both carrot and cudgel to bully so-called sanctuary cities.

For this reason, California is suing Attorney General Jeff Sessions for Sessions’ announcement this fall that those jurisdictions that cooperate with ICE in the way the administration now demands will be “prioritized” for two very important grants on which most police agencies depend. One is the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant—or JAG grant. The other is the Community Oriented Policing Services grant—or COPS grant.

The law enforcement group which filed the brief on Wednesday in the federal District Court for the Northern District of California, is hoping that the court will also step in to block Sessions’ new quid pro quo system of grant giving.

“The loss of JAG and COPS funding,” the group writes in their brief, would deprive their law enforcement and justice systems “of scarce resources” that are “crucial.” Jurisdictions across the country, the prosecutors and police leaders state, rely heavily on JAG and COPS grants to support programs “related to law enforcement, prosecution, corrections, courts, crime prevention and education, drug and mental health treatment, and victim-witness initiatives.”

In other words, the loss of the grants would strike a giant blow against public safety in the jurisdictions affected.

Harm to Public Safety X 2

At the same time, according to the national prosecutor/cop group, what the Trump administration is asking them to do in becoming law enforcement handmaidens to ICE is also dreadful for public safety, simply on its face, due to the “fundamental breakdown in trust” this line-crossing creates.

The brief points to a study of Latinos in four major cities, which found that “70% of undocumented immigrants and 44% of all Latinos are less likely to contact law enforcement authorities if they are victims of a crime for fear that the police will ask them or people they know about their immigration status. Additionally, according to the four-city study, 67% of undocumented immigrants and 45% of all Latinos are less likely to voluntarily offer information about, or report, crimes because of the same fear.

“The criminal justice system functions best when we work with all members of our community in a process predicated on cooperation and trust,” said Denver District Attorney Beth McCann. “All of us will lose if federal funding for important local law enforcement initiatives is tied to conditions that would require jurisdictions to prioritize civil immigration enforcement over promoting public safety and protecting the confidentiality of victims and witnesses.”

Miriam Krinsky, who is another signatory, and also the executive director of Fair and Just Prosecution, goes further.

“We have already seen evidence over the past few months of a reluctance by immigrant communities to report crimes and cooperate with law enforcement and prosecutors based on a fear of deportation,” Krinsky said. Yet it’s encouraging, she said, to see law enforcement officials across the country “standing together” to speak “definitively about their grave concerns with federal policies that threaten to deepen the divide between law enforcement and the immigrant communities they are entrusted to protect.”

You can read the brief as well as the list of those who signed it here.

CODA: Another flashpoint

On Thursday, a San Francisco jury of six women and six men voted to acquit 45-year-old Garcia Zarate of the charges of murder in the first and second degrees, and also of the alternate charge of involuntary manslaughter, in the death of 32-year-old Kate Steinle two years ago.

The case has been a flashpoint in the national debate on illegal immigration, due to the fact that Zarate, who was homeless, was undocumented, and had been deported multiple times.

The verdict is expected to be a further flashpoint in the ongoing discussion about sanctuary cities and law enforcement working with ICE.

Indeed, late Thursday, the Attorney General Sessions used the verdict as an opportunity to slam “sanctuary” jurisdictions.


  • This line of reasoning is such an affront to the Steinle family and law abiding citizens of the country. For CA law enforcement groups to continue to use a politically motivated argument regarding “immigrant” communities not cooperating for fear of deportation, while at the same time our CA legal system protecting an illegal immigrant felon and letting him off for killing someone…..BS. I’m sure all criminals who commit crimes with guns are inspired to use the defense “I didn’t mean had a hair trigger…it was an accident”.

    The jury for this case is no better than the all white racist jury’s in the segregated south that convicted thousands of men black for crimes even though the facts of the case said otherwise.

    Progressive…liberals…CA political machine..illegal immigrants unequal protection under the law = the new “Jim Crow”.

  • The liberal mindset on immigration seems to be: 1)We can’t do anything to stop immigration from anyplace on earth because that would be racist ,and there is no evidence that any group of people are any more prone to criminal activity than any other. And 2) We can’t do anything to enforce immigration laws on the immigrants who are already here because everyone knows immigrant communities are such crime hell holes we can’t do anything to dissuade the few immigrants that may actually cooperate with law enforcement.

  • The Washington Times, in a March 15, 2017 article that can be Googled, is reporting that there are over 500 sanctuary jurisdictions throughout the U.S. run by Democrats out to thwart U.S. Immigration laws.

    I wish that the Democrats could give a coherent rationale as to why they’re doing this.

    Zarate, in the Steinle case, has stated that he was attracted to San Francisco because it was a “sanctuary city.”

    Is that what we really want for our country?

  • This article repeats all of the same rhetoric used by liberal politicians who want to keep the votes from those communities. They throw out impressive percentage numbers to add weight to their sales pitch, omit the word “illegal” and add those “less likely” comments.

    The bottom line is, do we enforce the law or not? Do we care about national security? The policies enacted by a weak administration give a gullible population the idea that illegal is not illegal. Who will stand up and say the king is naked?

  • Votes people votes. That is the sole reason for the lefts stance on immigration. They know that one day Amnesty will come from their machine and that the votes will follow.

  • Wow, the talented White Power Quintet sharing their wisdom.
    Conspiracy, so, White is the new Black? I’m sure you are really persecuted. What’s next, they wont allow you to sit at the counter of the local Dunkin Donuts. Please.

    Major Kong, you’re a mind reader. Why you never made chief boggles the mind.

    Cognistator, Yes, that is obviously what we want for the country, or at least the state. The people and their representatives have spoken.

    Free Rider, Yes, enforce the law. The law as it is, not as you want it to be. The city and county of LA, which employ most of you, have told you when you can and cannot turn someone over to ICE. That is the law. For god’s sake, stop complaining. What happened to voting with your feet. If you do not like it, go work for a city or county that deports anyone who is darker than you and has an accent. Principle is expensive, and, alas, I doubt you have much of it. But, pleeeeeease, stop whining. Arizona isn’t that far.

    Ownership, yes, it will neutralize the votes your racist kin and brethren have taken away from Blacks. I’m sure you believed the Orange commander-in-chief when he said millions of illegals voted in the last election. Regardless, you are partially right, the country is changing. With every election, there are less and less republicans, as there are less whites. You’re not in Kansas anymore, Ownership.

  • Here’s a fact. Interesting to know C.F, that readership of this blog is read by many in all walks of life within Los Angeles County. Also interesting it that you keep the regular whiners in check. Like a good witness you named them. They’re so one-sided that they walk with a limp. Their fear is quite evident.

  • Take away cf’s racist and sexual rants (which interestingly enough the other cf ,Celeste Fremon, seems a-ok with) and all you have is a guy pointing and sputtering. “But-but-but-racism”. Very silly

  • When I read your rant about the jurors in this trial, I’m reminded of a highly esteemed and respected Judge who responded to people like you. Instead of using his gavel, he would ask “Were you there?” That would end all speculation and personal theories by those who were just like you. I was there.

  • Are three year-olds running the State of California? They loudly whine about federal immigration laws and demand no one cooperate with the Feds, passing legislation that ties the hands of local law enforcement. Yet these same obstructionists turn around and demand the Feds still give them money when the federal government re-allocates the funds to those who will work with them. Actions have consequences.

  • Your last sentence says it all. “Actions have consequences.” Not only does that apply to those who run the state of California but to those in the White House Administration as well. It has already begun, exposing lying and forked tongues. Unfortunately the Steinle case was politicized to no avail.

  • First of all you need to ask the people that jumped thru all the hopes to become citizens if handing out papers to everyone is the right thing to do. I have family members that came here illegally, got jobs, joined the armed services and eventually became citizens. It took them several years. They are proud americans and disagree with amnesty. The second thing that is a problem at the border is the increase of armenians getting across. So how many other people are doing it. This info is from border patrol personnel.

  • CF is drunk again, not surprised. The City and County are putting out “policy” and saying the law doesn’t apply here, not law you simple minded miscreant. Please, go back to school and learn the meaning of words before using them. The Feds have every right to say to jurisdictions we will take away your money that we give you if you won’t play ball with us by following the law. A simple question, if it’s ok to not follow this law what other laws can they just choose to ignore? I know the answer for you here on Team Celeste, whatever we choose to ignore. Sorry, not how it works anymore.

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