Police officers who viewed Donald Trump as their law-and-order ally could now lose essential funding if the new president carries out his threat to crack down on cities that protect undocumented immigrants, reports BuzzFeed. “This is something that’s terrifying,” said New Haven, Ct., police officer David Hartman. Officers’ fear is rooted in a memo sent by the Department of Justice last summer to hundreds of law enforcement agencies, warning that they would be ineligible for large slices of federal funding if they violated a vaguely written law passed 20 years ago. Simply put, Section 1373 bars police departments and other government entities from withholding information about a person’s immigration status from federal officials.
Scores of cities, like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New Haven, have countered Section 1373 with their own policies that aim to protect undocumented immigrants from the reach of federal deportation efforts. If Section 1373 is enforced, sanctuary cities stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in federal law enforcement grants, grants that “mean the world to us,” said New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell. Candidate Trump declared that he would “end sanctuary cities” within his first 100 days in office by barring them from federal funding. “If those jurisdictions have not complied with the new policy by Inauguration Day, then our new president can throw the switch that I’ve created and turn off all their federal law enforcement funding,” said John Culberson (R-TX). “They can lose all their money at noon on Jan. 20.” This would put the new president on a collision course with the law enforcement authorities he has vowed to protect. Culberson gained the power to give Section 1373 some teeth when, in 2014, he was named chairman of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, which has a big voice in controlling how much money DOJ gets.