The Trump administration has settled on a narrow definition of what it means to be a "sanctuary city," and limited the potential financial consequences for state and local governments that refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement, reports the Los Angeles Times.
At most, the sanctuary jurisdictions will lose grants from the Justice Department and the Homeland Security Department — not all federal funds, according to an order signed Monday by Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions.
Sessions' memo says that the term will apply only to places that "willfully refuse to comply" with a 1996 federal law that requires federal, state, and local governments to share information about someone's immigration status.
But Sessions' memo makes it clear that the administration has not given up on its goals of using the power of federal funding in the future to push for tougher enforcement. Sessions said the Justice Department can still "point out ways that state and local jurisdictions are undermining our lawful system of immigration."
"Going forward, the [Justice] Department, where authorized, may seek to tailor grants to promote a lawful system of immigration," Sessions wrote.