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GOP senators 'demand' Justice release memos reinstating 'dangerous' sanctuary city policies

In letter Attorney General Garland, senators say they're 'troubled' by decision being made without transparency, still being cloaked in secrecy.

Updated: May 25, 2021 - 11:29am

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A group of Republican senators Monday formally requested Attorney General Merrick Garland "immediately release" memos to Congress that reinstated federal funding for sanctuary cities and jurisdictions in "at least 11 states."

"In order to better understand current DOJ policy, and the impact it will have on the public safety, health, and well-being of hardworking Americans, we demand, as a matter of Congressional oversight, that you immediately release any guidance memos related to the decision to reinstate funding for sanctuary cities and jurisdictions," wrote the senators in a letter to Garland. "This information should be made readily available to Congress and to the American people in order to evaluate this unfortunate policy change."

The letter was signed by Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Braun of Indiana, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Roger Wicker of Mississippi and James Lankford of Oklahoma.
 
"According to news reports, you recently issued a memo that reversed a DOJ policy which withheld grant funding from sanctuary cities. We are troubled by your decision to reverse these policies and place the public safety and lives of hard working Americans at risk. Sanctuary city policies are dangerous and a threat to public safety," the senators also wrote in the letter.

"These policies prevent law enforcement officials from cooperating with federal immigration officials, and allow dangerous, violent criminal aliens to walk the street without fear of deportation. It is shameful that there are cities and states that would prefer to put the lives of Americans at risk rather than cooperate with federal immigration officials."
 
The senators argued that the states with "sanctuary policies" put their residents "at risk to the dangerous, violent criminal aliens who are released because these jurisdictions either fail to notify federal officials, or refuse to cooperate with reasonable requests to detain them."
 
The senators said that they're "troubled that this decision was made without transparency, and continues to be shrouded in secrecy."

"While the public has not been provided access to your memo effectively endorsing sanctuary policies, this memo appears to have been shared widely with mainstream, liberal media outlets," the senators wrote in the letter. "A decision with such serious public safety consequences should be open and accessible, but instead, DOJ has kept this information from everyone except their partisan media allies," they also said.

The senators asked for answers to a series of questions in the letter.

"What prompted your decision to reverse DOJ policy which withheld certain grant funds for sanctuary jurisdictions? Was this a decision by DOJ, or was this a directive from the White House?" they asked.

"Were career officials at either the DOJ or the Department of Homeland Security consulted before such a decision was made? If not, why not? How many jurisdictions will now have access to DOJ grant funds who were previously prohibited from receiving grants because of their status as sanctuary jurisdictions?" reads another question.

Garland was also asked whether the Justice Department conducted an analysis of the "impact of reversing DOJ policy" and considered the "harm to public safety which would result from permitting and encouraging sanctuary city policies."

"Is DOJ planning to increase grants to victims of crimes by dangerous criminal immigrants, specifically for those harmed as the result of sanctuary city policies? If not, please explain your reasoning," the senators asked Garland.