As President Donald Trump moves to deny federal funding to “sanctuary cities,” NYPD officials said Thursday they’re “reviewing” the impact the cuts would have on the department — which already faces nearly $200 million in funding cuts under Trump’s proposed budget.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill, during a hearing before the New York City Council’s Public Safety Committee, said it was “too early” to determine the fiscal impact of the executive order signed by Trump that blocks federal funding to cities that fail to enforce federal immigration laws.
“It is unclear if the executive order would apply to all federal funding or only to funding from the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security,” O’Neill said. “Additionally, the order states that it may exclude law enforcement.”
O’Neill’s remarks came as the City of Seattle filed a federal lawsuit Thursday to overturn Trump’s order. The city argues that the order is unconstitutional and “fatally ambiguous.”
The suit contends that Trump’s order uses “terms that are vague and not defined,” and “does not spell out the particular enforcement objectives.”
The NYPD also is studying the potential financial impact of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement Monday that the Department of Justice would “claw back” money from cities that fail to cooperate with immigration enforcement officers. Mayor Bill de Blasio has said NYPD officers will not serve as “immigration enforcers.”
“We’re facing the risk of losing funds on multiple fronts,” Larry Byrne, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of legal matters, told the council. Byrne noted that Trump’s budget calls for cuts to Department of Homeland Security grants that New York City has received in the past for counterterrorism efforts.
O’Neill has said the proposed Homeland Security cuts could cost the city nearly $190 million in federal funding.
O’Neill said he traveled to Washington Monday to lobby for $24 million in federal funding the city has been seeking to cover the cost of securing Trump Tower during the presidential transition.
The department is seeking additional funding for the cost of protecting Trump’s Fifth Avenue high-rise where first lady Melania Trump and son Barron continue to live. He said that costs the city up to $145,000 a day.
O’Neill described the talks as “very productive,” and said he was “optimistic.”
The White House did not immediately return an email seeking comment about O’Neill’s remarks.