Stop Whining: Sacrificing Federal Dollars to Thwart Immigration Enforcement is a Choice

The Trump administration seems serious about carrying through on the president’s Executive Order to withhold certain federal funds from sanctuary jurisdictions. On April 21, the Department of Justice sent letters to nine jurisdictions demanding that they demonstrate that they are in compliance with a federal statute prohibiting sanctuary policies. As DOJ is well-stocked with printer cartridges and paper, and no shortage of sanctuary jurisdictions to target, we can assume that these are just the first round of such letters.

The letters make it clear that failure to comply with DOJ’s demand “could result in withholding of federal funds, suspension or termination of the grant, ineligibility for future…grants or subgrants, or other action, as appropriate.” In plain English, the message to the leaders of these nine jurisdictions is comply with the federal laws against illegal alien sanctuary policies, or it’s going to cost you.

The “it’s going to cost you” part of the DOJ letter seems to have gotten the attention of the Center for American Progress, a prominent advocacy group with close ties to the Democratic leadership. In a blatant attempt to confuse and mislead the public, and shift responsibility for the hardships that could result from the loss of federal funds, CAP published an analysis detailing how three sanctuary jurisdictions would be “devastated” by the Trump administration’s actions.

The CAP report looks at how the threatened cut-off of certain federal funds would affect Chicago and Philadelphia, which were on the receiving end of the DOJ missives, and Cincinnati, which was not one of the nine jurisdictions on DOJ’s initial list.

According to CAP, Chicago stands to lose $72 million in various grants, affecting some 300,000 residents “including seniors, youth, domestic violence survivors, and people with disabilities and chronic illnesses.” In addition the cut-off “would eliminate lifesaving programs and services that help struggling Chicagoans and their families escape homelessness; repair and remain in their homes; live independently and with dignity; and receive quality care services that improve health, address food insecurity, and increase overall safety.” Similar heartbreak would be experienced by residents of Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

In conclusion, CAP warns that if the administration carries through on conditions set forth in the DOJ letters, “They would not only gut the economic foundation of these communities, but they would also decimate the basic living standards of struggling Americans who rely on their local government services to make ends meet.”

No doubt innocent people would be harmed by DOJ’s threatened action, and nobody wants to see that happen. So here’s a wild idea that apparently never occurred to CAP or the political leadership of the sanctuary jurisdictions in question: These jurisdictions can comply with the law; 8 U.S. Code § 1373 and 8 U.S. Code § 1644, to be exact.

Maintaining illegal policies that protect people who are in the country illegally, including criminals is a choice. Choices – especially those that involve violations of law – come with consequences, and the responsibility for any hardships that might result rest squarely on the shoulders of the local officials who stubbornly adhere to the illegal policies they have enacted.

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar

    I am not happy about santuary cities either. But one thing trump has not addressed is how are we going to get crops picked without illegals. I live in farmland and go to visit farmland in the Midwest and that is who is picking your produce. Americans will largely not do it. The ability to feed our population is important and we can not afford to have farmers going bankrupt while crops rot in the fields.

  2. avatar

    If American citizens are hurt by the loss of federal funds, they can blame their own local government. They can, also, band together, March on their governments and demand that they stop caring for foreign illegals at the expense of the American citizens. I don’t understand why the citizens in these sanctuary areas have done nothing while this happened to them. Why aren’t they screaming, protesting, whatever, to stop what us being done to them???

    • avatar

      I still don’t see how the math adds up …. something is wrong here out of 330 Million people lets say 30% illegals to exaggerate….most of them work off the books…you do not see Mexican guys asking for money on the streets…you only find White and African Americans……doing that …not all of them are pregnant and in Welfare which they can’t….i think they are the scape goats…

      Something is fishy……

      • avatar

        Yeah, your posts. If they work “off the books” as you claim, they are not paying any taxes. Government, whether local state of federal, doesn’t run on air. When they have five kids in school it’s costing the taxpayers a bundle.