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Washington threatens funding cut to California, other ‘sanctuary’ areas

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The U.S. Department of Justice threatened on Friday to cut off funding to California as well as eight cities and counties across the United States, escalating a Trump administration crackdown on so-called “sanctuary cities” that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

President Donald Trump has vowed to cut off federal funds to dozens of state and local governments that do not fully cooperate with federal immigration agents, arguing that they are putting public safety at risk when they do not hand over illegal immigrants suspected of crime for possible deportation.

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“Sanctuary cities” in general offer safe harbor to illegal immigrants and often do not use municipal funds or resources to advance the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Many of these localities say they do not have the funding or space to hold illegal immigrants until federal agents can apprehend them.

Those threatened include: the state of California; New York City; Chicago; Philadelphia; Clark County, Nevada; New Orleans; Miami Dade County, Florida, and Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. Cook County, Illinois also received a warning, even though it did not get money from the Justice Department last year.

The jurisdictions until June 30 to provide evidence to the federal government that they are not violating any laws.

At stake is roughly $29 million in federal law-enforcement aid under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, which helps local governments pay for everything from forensics labs to drug courts.

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The grants in question are among the largest handed out under the program, collectively amounting to 11 percent of the $256 million distributed under the program in the last fiscal year.

In a statement, the Justice Department singled out Chicago and New York as two cities that are “crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime,” even though New York City is experiencing its lowest crime levels in decades and experts say Chicago’s recent spike in violent crime has little to do with illegal immigration.

That drew a defiant response from several cities. 

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“New York is the safest big city in the country, with crime at record lows in large part because we have policies in place to encourage cooperation between NYPD and immigrant communities,” said Seth Stein, a spokesman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

A spokeswoman for the California Board of State and Community Corrections said some of the funding in question has been distributed to local communities after emergencies in the past, including San Bernardino after a mass shooting there in 2015.

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Officials in Philadelphia, Milwaukee County and Cook County said they believed they were complying with immigration laws. 

“Milwaukee County has its challenges but they are not caused by illegal immigration. My far greater concern is the proactive dissemination of misinformation, fear, and intolerance,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.

The Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police union, told Trump in a meeting last month that they were concerned the cuts could threaten public safety.

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(This version of the story has been refiled to fix typo in name of New York Mayor de Blasio)

(Reporting by Julia Edwards Ainsley and Andy Sullivan; Additional reporting by Mica Rosenberg and Joseph Ax in New York, Tom James in Seattle and Chris Kenning in Chicago Editing by Sandra Maler)


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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2020 Election

‘Recipe for disaster’: NC doctor slams Trump’s hopes for a packed GOP convention as ‘an incredibly bad idea’

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A North Carolina strongly cautioned his state's governor from caving in to President Donald Trump's wishes for a packed Republican National Convention.

The president has threatened to move the RNC this summer from Charlotte if Gov. Roy Cooper did not ease coronavirus restrictions to allow for a full-scale event, but a local physician told WCNC-TV that Trump's plan was unreasonable.

"What do we know about infections?" said Dr. Jeffrey Galvin, of the Vitality Medical Wellness group. "Infection requires two things, exposure plus time."

Trump wants to pack 20,000 Republicans, journalists and others into Spectrum Center in August, but Galvin said infected people shed small amounts of the virus every time they breathe.

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Trump Tower’s profits magically grew by $3 million in 2010 — which helped them borrow another $73 million

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A decade ago, loan filings showed Trump Tower in New York City had a reported profit of about $13.3 million. But when the tower refinanced its debt soon after, the profits for the same year — 2010 — somehow appeared higher. A new lender listed the profits as $16.1 million, or 21% more than they had been recorded previously.

The next year’s earnings for the building also “improved” between the two filings. Profits for 2011 were listed as 12% higher under the new loan than the old, according to reports by loan servicers and data provider Trepp.

ProPublica uncovered the Trump Tower discrepancies by examining publicly available data for mortgages that are packaged into securities known as commercial mortgage-backed securities, comparing the same years in reports for different CMBS. If a bank had held onto the loan, instead of selling it to investors, such information would have been kept private. No evidence has emerged that the Trump Organization was involved in changing the profit figures.

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2020 Election

2016 Trump campaign vets warn he’s ‘slipping badly’ in multiple swing states

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Two men who worked on President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign have warned the president that his position in swing states is significantly deteriorating amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Politico reports that former Trump campaign officials Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie delivered a face-to-face warning to the president that he was "slipping badly" in several key states, including must-win battlegrounds such as Florida and Arizona.

"Bossie and Lewandowski, who served as top aides on Trump’s 2016 effort, complained to the president about his political operation," the publication writes. "Trump’s campaign team, in response decided to rush their Arizona and Florida representatives onto airplanes for a Thursday meeting with the president."

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