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Virtue signaling aside, does Chicago have a right to DOJ funding?

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Yeah, if everyone could stop getting outraged and focus on how the law actually works, that’d be great.

Attorney General Sessions announced on July 25 that federal funding under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) has been officially barred from cities refusing to comply with federal immigration law. Rahm Emanuel, Chicago mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff, responded on Sunday by threatening a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, which was filed on Monday. For context, a Ninth Circuit judge illegally struck down President Trump’s executive order in January which more broadly prohibited funds to sanctuary cities (like the policy or not, that’s not how the judiciary works. Somebody actually has to file a case).

The DOJ swiftly replied to Emanuel’s pushback: “In 2016, more Chicagoans were murdered than in New York City and Los Angeles combined. So it’s especially tragic that the mayor is less concerned with that staggering figure than he is spending time and taxpayer money protecting criminal aliens and putting Chicago’s law enforcement at greater risk,” said department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores.

Predictably, this story is being touted Left and Right with the utmost virtue signaling, so much so that no news outlet seems to have even considered which side has the best legal footing. It can be hard to keep our knee-jerk grandstanding to ourselves, so let’s put all that to rest before we move on to the more substantive material:

This article will not address crime rates among illegal immigrants, the Chicago prison system already teeming with complications and which would be decluttered with the deportation of illegals, nor the dubious research on whether sanctuary cities experience any significant change in crime rate.

But that goes both ways. I would also appreciate if the other side would calm down about accusations that Sessions has somehow violated the Constitution and Rahm’s “fundamental rights,” that this measure betrays the moral values of the city of Chicago, that it’s akin to blackmail, or that the withholding of a measly 0.03% of the city budget will “make the people of Chicago less safe” and “[undermine Chicago’s] actual safety agenda” in any serious way. It’s not about kindness, the American Dream, or being a “welcoming city.” It’s about the law.

Lastly, I won’t dive into a discussion about the virtue or even legality of sanctuary cities — federal law is supreme and cities must follow it as it pertains to them, whether they like it or not. But that’s not the item in question.

To address this story adequately, we need to consider the core issue: does the Department of Justice have the authority to rescind its contract with the city of Chicago? Consenting parties have a constitutional right to enter into a contract, so if Sessions has violated his end, then Emanuel might have a case.

When accepted for this grant program, states (and subsequently cities) enter into a contract with the DOJ. States apply to the Byrne JAG Program and are awarded funding based on a formula calculated by the Bureau of Justice Statistics involving population and violent crime stats. As this is a federal grant, the money can only be used for its stated purpose in a few specified areas. If a city or state refuses to comply with those terms, then no deal. They don’t lose any money; they just don’t qualify for additional funding because they won’t use it for its intended purpose.

This touches on a critical point: the DOJ isn’t holding outside money hostage. They’re not refusing funding for education, infrastructure, or anything unrelated so as to ostensibly treat police officers like “political pawns in a debate,” as Emanuel has alleged. This is money exclusively set aside for law enforcement, and the DOJ is refusing it based on concerns regarding law enforcement.

Next we have to ask whether Chicago intended to uphold their federal contract anyway by allotting the funds to an approved category. Chicago had reportedly planned on using its promised $3.2 million to buy police vehicles, which arguably qualifies under Byrne JAG specifications as “equipment,” so that appears to check out.

As far as I can tell, Chicago was in total compliance with the stated restrictions of the grant until the attorney general’s announcement, which makes it the only part that truly matters.

On July 25, Sessions declared in part, “From now on, the Department will only provide Byrne JAG grants to cities and states that comply with federal law, allow federal immigration access to detention facilities, and provide 48 hours notice before they release an illegal alien wanted by federal authorities. This is consistent with long-established cooperative principles among law enforcement agencies.” He cited “tak[ing] down MS-13 and other violent transnational gangs” as impetus for the policy change, and the department later issued further details concerning the new additions.

Under these restrictions, Chicago most certainly does not qualify for the Byrne JAG. So where does Sessions stand? It all depends on whether the attorney general has the authority to transparently adjust the terms of a financial contract while such is already in place.

To my knowledge, yes. He didn’t do it in secret and bust anyone for a law they didn’t know about, and, more importantly, it’s not legislation; it’s DOJ policy, and Sessions is the head of the DOJ. The contract comes from the DOJ, so only the DOJ can alter it, and there’s no reason they can’t alter it (it would be silly to claim that once a policy is established it has to stay that way forever).

I know of no legal argument against Sessions’s ability to amend department policy, and I haven’t seen any publication or politician even attempt to present one. We’ll just have to see if virtue signaling (from both sides) outweighs the legal question.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, check out The New Guards on Facebook.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. R angel

    August 8, 2017 at 8:11 am

    Totally agree

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Immigration

How exploding diaper costs demonstrate the crisis at the border

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How exploding diaper costs demonstrate the crisis at the border

Democrats have been caught in a feedback loop for months over border security. They can’t reconcile their narrative with the reality at the border, yet they continue to repeat the same talking points for leftist media to regurgitate to the masses. But one look at the cost of diapers and other baby supplies should be enough to alert people that the border crisis is real and getting worse every day.

According to a Yuma Sector report, CBP is on track to pay over $1.2 million for diapers, formula, and other baby supplies due to the rising number of illegal immigrant and asylum-seeking migrant families crossing in the region. Last year, baby expenses totaled around $300,000, marking a cost increase that has quadrupled year-over-year.

That doesn’t take into account the multitude of families who are released to the interior where the baby expenses are paid for using other means.

The left may be able to play “hammer the narrative” by spinning the media in their favor based solely on their collective hatred for President Trump, but numbers don’t lie and neither do the CBP reports. They’ve done everything they can to ring the alarm bells, but DC continues to stick its head in the sand. There’s always a more important topic to cover. Horror stories at the border have become so commonplace that many have been desensitized to them.

Slowly but surely, the left is winning the narrative battle by making people yawn every time the border crisis is brought to their attention.

America needs to address this problem immediately. There should be nothing higher on the agenda of lawmakers on Capitol Hill than to get more agents to the border, better technology, more beds, better supplies, a wall, and better laws with fewer loopholes through which illegal aliens and asylum-seeking migrants can wiggle their way into staying in the country indefinitely without going through the proper legal channels.

It isn’t just about the exploding diaper costs, though. There’s a negative trickle down effect that’s at play here helping dangerous people cross the border unnoticed. Every agent that’s made to act like a daycare employee for migrant children is an agent who’s not stopping drug smugglers and gang members from crossing illegally in the dead of night. Every agent who’s forced to be a paperwork clerk to the masses of migrants signing up for their pass to the interior – aka waiting for an asylum hearing – is an agent who could be stopping terrorists from coming into the country to wage war against American citizens.

The border situation is so far beyond a disaster it’s impressive how neglectful the media and Democrats have been able to be. This level of denial is unprecedented in American politics. Meanwhile, our sovereignty is slipping away.

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Democrats

Rep. Seth Moulton enters the Democratic nomination race

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Rep Seth Moulton enters the Democratic nomination race

The clown car continues to fill up as a new Democrat announces their presidential campaign seemingly every week. This time, it’s Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA), marking the third politician from Massachusetts to vie for the top spot. He joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and former Republican governor Bill Weld as hopefuls from The Bay State.

An Iraq War veteran from the U.S. Marines, Moulton led efforts to replace Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi once the Democrats won back control of the House last year. His politics are pretty much indistinguishable from other candidates as he favors Medicare-for-All, gun control, and other common leftist notions.

Moulton has a tall mountain to climb on the fundraising side if he hopes to make it to the main debate stage. There’s still time, but he’ll need to get some heavy attention very quickly to be able to make a serious run.

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Economy

PragerU: Is Denmark socialist?

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Is Denmark socialist

Not too long ago, many socialist, including presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, thought the model of the future for America was Venezuela. They saw the prosperity that the oil-rich nation was enjoying in its early days of socialism and said, “That’s us. That’s where America needs to be.”

Fast forward to today and suddenly every socialist is disavowing Venezuela altogether, claiming that the model of America was never really the model they thought it was and it’s not even real socialism. Why? Because it failed. Therefore, by the socialists’ reckoning, that must mean they didn’t do it right.

Now, Denmark is suddenly the model for America’s future. But there’s a problem. Denmark is a free-market nation that has been peeling away at its socialist foundation for decades. While they enjoy some of the most robust social programs in the world, they’re doing so at such a high price that the people are left with very little other than the essentials. Yes, they have free healthcare, but more citizens are turning to private insurance to bypass the poor treatment and long wait times associated with single-payer healthcare. Yes, they have free schooling, but grade-level students are being shifted to private schools at nearly a 20% pace while the “free” college system is being taken advantage of by those who are clever enough to realize they’re better off staying in college indefinitely than graduating and being thrown into the world of working to pay for the system.

This video by PragerU’s Otto Brons-Petersen breaks down the reality of the socialist utopia leftists often point to as their beacon of hope for a failed economic and political philosophy.

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