| SAN FRANCISCO, March 30
SAN FRANCISCO, March 30 U.S. Attorney General
Jeff Sessions' threat to strip Justice Department grants from
cities and local governments that shield illegal immigrants from
deportation would have minimal impact on municipal credit
ratings, according to S&P Global Ratings.
The financial rating firm said on Thursday that an analysis
of 10 large so-called sanctuary jurisdictions found the Justice
Department funds made up on only 0.2 percent of budgets, on
The term sanctuary is not an official designation but has
come to be used generally to describe cities and local
governments that offer safe harbor to illegal immigrants and
often do not use municipal funds or resources to advance the
enforcement of federal immigration laws.
The 10 jurisdictions reviewed were: Cambridge,
Massachusetts; Detroit; Josephine County, Oregon; Los Angeles
County, California; New York City; Oakland, California; San
Francisco; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.
Of the places reviewed by S&P, funding from the Justice
Department made up the largest share of federal funding in
Oakland, with 8 percent of federal funding, and Seattle, with 7
S&P said it expected both cities' financial strength and
economic growth to offset any potential losses.
Grants for health, community development and transportation
generally make up the largest share of federally derived revenue
for jurisdictions. But this funding is typically allocated by
formulas set in statute and lack any connection to immigration
enforcement. As a result, S&P said it viewed "the likelihood of
Congress withholding or deferring these funds to sanctuary
jurisdictions as more remote."
Justice Department grants were among the most at risk,
because this funding is "generally provided on an annual basis
in the form of competitive grants," said S&P.
Some local governments receive as much as 41 percent of
their budgets from the federal government, while others receive
none at all. Counties tend to have more exposure than cities, as
counties generally administer their own criminal justice
programs, according to S&P.
(Reporting by Robin Respaut; Editing by Bill Rigby)