The Virginia government forfeited federal funds and declined to participate in a successful plan to reduce gun violence just so it would not have to collaborate with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Department of Justice documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon revealed that two federal grants allocated to the state of Virginia were returned when state officials refused to certify that Virginia would meet federal requirements to share immigration information with federal police.
“The grants were awarded to the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services [DCJS] to serve as the fiscal agent for the 2018 Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN) awards for the Eastern and Western Districts of the state of Virginia,” a memo explains.
“DCJS [Department of Criminal Justice Services] will not be able to comply with the requirements and the agency has formally declined the awards,” a DOJ official said in a memo.
Thus, the state of Virginia, governed by Democrat Ralph Northam, turned down funds worth $665,673 specifically intended to reduce gun crime.
House of Delegates Republican Majority Leader Todd Gilbert criticized the governor’s decision to reject the funds as it undermines the state’s efforts to combat gun crime.
The program associated with the funds has proven effective in increasing prosecutions for gun crimes as well as significantly reducing the number of such crimes, according to data from a 2009 study by the National Institute of Justice.
The cities that participated in Project Safe Neighborhood saw an average reduction in this type of crime of 4.1% compared to 0.9% for the populations that did not participate.
There were much more successful cases, such as the city of Norflolk, where firearms crime was reduced by 25% after the implementation of this program, according to data from a 2018 report presented by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.
A spokeswoman for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam told the Beacon that federal dollars continue to flow to reduce gun crime in the state.
The governor preferred to focus his measures on assault weapons control, arguing that the recent mass shootings represent “a new level of urgency to act.”
However, Gilbert does not believe that the Democrat really feels an urgency to truly reduce gun crimes.
“Attorney General [Mark] Herring and Governor Northam have said the loss of lives in Virginia to guns is an emergency, yet they’re willing to walk away from grant funding for a program that has been proven to work,” Gilbert told Beacon.
“They’re willing to put politics above saving lives. These programs work. They save lives, particularly those of young, African American men,” Gilbert added, according to the Daily Wire.
‘Sanctuary’ Policies “Produce Suffering”
This happened because Democratic state Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a law that would have required North Carolina law enforcement and sheriffs to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Shortly after this veto, ICE captured Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo, an illegal alien living in North Carolina who had been charged with first-degree rape and “indecent contact” with a child.
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) commented on Sept. 9, “North Carolina counties are releasing illegal immigrants charged with violent crimes like rape and murder without even notifying federal officials, jeopardizing public safety,” according to WBTV.
“Political leaders who advocate for and defend sanctuary policies are directly responsible for the lawlessness and human suffering they have inflicted on their communities. The law-abiding, legal residents of these communities need to know that their leaders have prioritized the interests of often violent illegal aliens over them,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute.
“They are unconstitutional—a violation of the Supremacy Clause—and threaten the integrity of our republic. More importantly, sanctuary policies bring violent crime and murder that is entirely preventable,” Wilcox added.