LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — The city of Los Angeles has sued the U.S. Department of Justice over its plan to sanction cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts.
The city filed a lawsuit alleging that it’s unconstitutional to tie federal grant funding for law enforcement programs to immigration enforcement, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
The federal lawsuit filed on Friday alleges the Justice Department is giving bonus points to jurisdictions seeking community policing grant funds if they agree to focus efforts on illegal immigration.
The move creates an “untenable choice” for cities, which must commit to assisting federal immigration enforcement efforts or sacrifice these funds, the lawsuit said.
Latest Coverage: The Sanctuary Debate
Los Angeles routinely applies for the funds through the Community Oriented Policing Services program, and received $3 million last year, according to the city.
The Justice Department did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.
The Trump administration has sparred with immigrant-friendly cities over whether they should assist with immigration enforcement efforts.
The administration initially sought to withhold funding from so-called sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with immigration enforcement but was blocked by a judge. Last month, the Trump administration appealed that decision.
The California Legislature approved a “sanctuary state” bill earlier this month that limits how local and state police can interact with federal immigration agents.
It has not yet been signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill is intended to bolster immigrant protections in the state that are already among the toughest in the nation.
Sanctuary cities in the Southland include San Bernardino, Santa Ana and Malibu. In early August, Attorney General Jeff Sessions moved to punish San Bernardino and three other so-called sanctuary cities, threatening to deny them federal crime-fighting resources if they don’t step up efforts to help detain and deport people living in the country illegally. However, earlier this month a federal judge in Chicago ruled that Sessions cannot follow through with his threat to withhold public safety grant money.
Last week, about 100 people were arrested in the Los Angeles area during a four-day nationwide immigration sweep targeting so-called sanctuary jurisdictions.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)