Trump lawyer says sanctuary city directive 'narrow'

Indo Asian News Service

Los Angeles, April 15 (IANS) A lawyer for President Donald Trump's administration said that an executive order targeting so-called sanctuary cities was "narrow" and there will be no loss of funds to governments that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities, the media reported.

During a hearing on lawsuits filed by San Francisco and Santa Clara county challenging the administration, acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler said on Friday that Trump's January order was intended merely to highlight an issue the president cares deeply about and would apply "only to a limited range of grants" from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The January 25 order is set to revive cooperation programmes among the local police and immigration authorities and to halt the granting of certain federal funds to sanctuary cities, which includes about 200 metropolitan areas, counties and other US jurisdictions that protect local immigrant populations.

One of the biggest areas of disagreement between cities and the federal government is over allowing federal immigration officers to make arrests in local jails and prisons.

In February, San Francisco became the first US city to file a lawsuit over the order.

"We don't know yet exactly how the policy is going to be applied," Readler told US District Court Judge William H. Orrick, former President Barack Obama's appointee.

"We don't know whether there will be any enforcement action and what it will look like," The Los Angeles Times quoted Readler as saying.

The order directed the attorney general and secretary for Homeland Security to ensure that "sanctuary" jurisdictions "are not eligible to receive federal grants," and said the secretary could determine which governments were sanctuary jurisdictions.

Readler said that the order would affect only law enforcement grants and that cities and counties would be notified if their grants were in jeopardy.

"Santa Clara county receives less than $1 million of the affected grants, and San Francisco doesn't appear to receive any of that money," Readler said.

Both San Francisco and Santa Clara county have asked Orrick to block Trump's order nationally, arguing that it unconstitutionally infringes on the authority of states and local governments and threatens to cut billions of dollars from the two jurisdictions.

There are about 400 sanctuary cities and counties in the country, including Los Angeles, that do not take part in immigration enforcement actions, the daily added.

--IANS

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