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Trump administration toughens policy against sanctuary cities

 (Alex Brandon / Associated Press)
(Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

The Trump administration on Tuesday strengthened its crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities, announcing a new policy that says local governments will lose some federal grants if they do not give federal officials advance notice when immigrants who are in the country illegally are about to be released from custody and allow immigration agents access to local jails.

The new policy, announced by the Department of Justice, will apply to all cities that get grants from the so-called Byrne Justice Assistance grant program, for which the administration has requested just over $380 million for the coming year.

Under the policy, cities will have to meet three conditions if they want the grants: honoring requests to give 48-hour notice when detainees are about to be released; allowing agents access to local and state jails, in order to pick up undocumented people who are being released; and compliance with a law that prohibits any jurisdictions from stopping the exchange of information about an individual’s immigration status.

The policy, announced as Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions comes under extraordinary criticism from President Trump, seems guaranteed to garner strong opposition from cities and the courts. In some states, courts have held that state and local authorities cannot detain people who are not charged with a crime simply because of a federal detainer request. 

3:40 p.m.: This post was corrected. Under the new policy, cities will have to honor requests to give 48 hour notice when a detainee is about to be released. The policy does not require cities to hold detainees at federal request.

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