Former Governor Rick Perry of Texas wants to hit ‘sanctuary cities’ where it hurts: smack dab in the middle of their federal funding.

“Today, I am proposing to pull funding for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program—or SCAAP—from sanctuary cities. States with sanctuary cities will lose a proportionate amount of their SCAAP funding as well. SCAAP funding will also be restricted to jurisdictions that actively participate in immigration law enforcement programs. Cities and counties with sanctuary policies in place will also be prohibited from applying for federal law enforcement or Department of Homeland Security grants. Federal taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to subsidize the irresponsible behavior of these governments. Furthermore, the Justice Department should allow federal immigration officials, either through the executive branch or Congressional action, to have access to prisons and holding facilities in sanctuary cities and counties, so as to verify the immigration status of people in those facilities.”

For those – like myself – wondering what the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program is: “SCAAP provides federal payments to states and localities that incurred correctional officer salary costs for incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens with at least one felony or two misdemeanor convictions for violations of state or local law, and incarcerated for at least 4 consecutive days during the reporting period.” In other words: since federal immigration policy trumps all others, state and local governments receive funds that help them carry out federal policy. But… sanctuary cities pretty much defy federal immigration policy already. So what former Governor Perry is doing here is arguing that since certain cities don’t want to implement federal policies, they have no kick coming if the federal government turns off that sweet, sweet subsidy spigot.

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Note that it’s not just SCAAP: Perry also wants to target law enforcement and DHS grants. In bureaucratic terms this is an administrative punishment that would go somewhere between a punch in the gut, and sawing off an arm; a lot of money flows up and down the channels of government*. Gov. Perry’s argument is pretty sound, though. If cities or states don’t want to administer federal policies, why in God’s name is the federal government doing paying them not to administer those policies? Even if one thinks that sanctuary cities are a marvelous idea, it does not follow that those cities should be paid for flouting federal law.

All in all, as an immigration squish I like this concept. After all: as the saying goes the first step in training a jackass is to get the jackass’s attention. And there are a lot of Democratic jackasses that are currently busily braying away in state and local governments…

Via Jim Geraghty.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: Rick Perry’s proposal would also proportionally reduce state government SCAAP and other subsidies by the percentage of sanctuary localities that were in-state. Just to make sure that the money doesn’t end up in sanctuary cities’ coffers via bureaucratic misdirection.

*And gets thoroughly wasted along the way, but that’s a different post.