Justice Department Warns 4 Cities Over 'Sanctuary' Policies

Justice Department Warns 4 Cities Over 'Sanctuary' Policies

Justice Department Warns 4 Cities Over 'Sanctuary' Policies

In August, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante announced a lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions over withholding grant funds by imposing new and "unprecedented" requirements to show compliance.

The U.S. Department of Justice, in separate letters to Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle penned Wednesday, highlights several active policies created to shield undocumented immigrants from being unduly targeted by law enforcement entities. It is giving those jurisdictions until October 27 to provide evidence demonstrating compliance.

It comes after suggestions from Washington that New Orleans was a so-called "sanctuary city" that attempted to shield illegal immigrants from federal enforcement. In a letter dated Wednesday, Hanson noted that the city's 2016 Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant - commonly known as JAG funding - required Philly to comply with the statute.

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The DOJ said it was the "last chance" for jurisdictions to comply.

The Justice Department began stepping up pressure on Philadelphia and several other cities in April, when it warned in a letter that a policy of not sharing information with Immigration Enforcement agents violates the terms of a police training grant.

The Justice Department said it had found no evidence that four other jurisdictions - Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Clark County, Nevada, Miami-Dade County, Florida and the State of CT - were in violation of the statue, known as Section 1373.

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Section 8 U.S.C. s. 1373 says that a state "may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual".

"We are reviewing DOJ's response, and are prepared to fight to protect critical public safety funding", said de Blasio spokesman Seth Stein. Though this rule is aimed at barring questions about immigrants' legal status, DOJ says it could be interpreted to bar NYPD members from requesting immigration info from federal immigration officers, which would be illegal. Perhaps ironically, another major Trump supporter, Republican former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, memorably offered a dramatic defense of policies that shielded immigrants from persecution while running City Hall in the 1990s. Requiring New Orleans Police to demand information about immigration status, local officials argued, would only lead to immigrants fearing and mistrusting police, rather than cooperating with them.

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