The Trump administration seems serious about carrying through on the president’s Executive Order to withhold certain federal funds from sanctuary jurisdictions. On April 21, the Department of Justice sent letters to nine jurisdictions demanding that they demonstrate that they are in compliance with a federal statute prohibiting sanctuary policies. As DOJ is well-stocked with printer cartridges and paper, and no shortage of sanctuary jurisdictions to target, we can assume that these are just the first round of such letters.

The letters make it clear that failure to comply with DOJ’s demand “could result in withholding of federal funds, suspension or termination of the grant, ineligibility for future…grants or subgrants, or other action, as appropriate.” In plain English, the message to the leaders of these nine jurisdictions is comply with the federal laws against illegal alien sanctuary policies, or it’s going to cost you.

The “it’s going to cost you” part of the DOJ letter seems to have gotten the attention of the Center for American Progress, a prominent advocacy group with close ties to the Democratic leadership. In a blatant attempt to confuse and mislead the public, and shift responsibility for the hardships that could result from the loss of federal funds, CAP published an analysis detailing how three sanctuary jurisdictions would be “devastated” by the Trump administration’s actions.

The CAP report looks at how the threatened cut-off of certain federal funds would affect Chicago and Philadelphia, which were on the receiving end of the DOJ missives, and Cincinnati, which was not one of the nine jurisdictions on DOJ’s initial list.

According to CAP, Chicago stands to lose $72 million in various grants, affecting some 300,000 residents “including seniors, youth, domestic violence survivors, and people with disabilities and chronic illnesses.” In addition the cut-off “would eliminate lifesaving programs and services that help struggling Chicagoans and their families escape homelessness; repair and remain in their homes; live independently and with dignity; and receive quality care services that improve health, address food insecurity, and increase overall safety.” Similar heartbreak would be experienced by residents of Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

In conclusion, CAP warns that if the administration carries through on conditions set forth in the DOJ letters, “They would not only gut the economic foundation of these communities, but they would also decimate the basic living standards of struggling Americans who rely on their local government services to make ends meet.”

No doubt innocent people would be harmed by DOJ’s threatened action, and nobody wants to see that happen. So here’s a wild idea that apparently never occurred to CAP or the political leadership of the sanctuary jurisdictions in question: These jurisdictions can comply with the law; 8 U.S. Code § 1373 and 8 U.S. Code § 1644, to be exact.

Maintaining illegal policies that protect people who are in the country illegally, including criminals is a choice. Choices – especially those that involve violations of law – come with consequences, and the responsibility for any hardships that might result rest squarely on the shoulders of the local officials who stubbornly adhere to the illegal policies they have enacted.