Justice Department Sets Deadline for Sanctuary Cities

13 October, 2017, 00:11 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • A letter from the Justice Department released Thursday said officials believe New York is violating a law requiring cooperation on immigration enforcement

At least two Philadelphia policies aimed at protecting undocumented immigrants violate federal law, according to a preliminary assessment conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Cities on the attorney general's warning list include New York, Philadelphia and New Orleans, as well as Chicago and surrounding Cook County in IL.

The Justice Department also found Chicago, New Orleans, New York City and Cook County, Illinois, to be in violation.

The feds are giving what they call a "last chance" warning to NY that the city's immigrant-friendly policies may cost it federal grants.

The letter gives the city until October 27 to submit more documents proving they're in compliance before the feds make a final decision about the money.

The letters don't say what will happen if the cities don't comply.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned Chicago and three other cities to get into compliance with federal laws or risk losing federal grants.

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Seth Stein, a spokesman for New York City, said the mayor's office was "prepared to fight to protect critical public safety funding". The assessment is its latest effort to force "sanctuary cities" to comply with federal immigration orders. U.S.C. 1373 - states that a federal, state or local government entity can not restrict any government entity from "sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual".

Two other jurisdictions that were asked to prove their compliance with the law - Milwaukee County and the state of CT - were cleared in the letters released Thursday. A federal judge sided with the city last month and issued a preliminary injunction barring the US government from denying public-safety grants.

"Jurisdictions that adopt so-called "sanctuary policies" also adopt the view that the protection of criminal aliens is more important than the protection of law-abiding citizens and of the rule of law", Sessions said in a statement.

Sessions subsequently issued a memo that limited the categories of federal funding that would be in jeopardy to DOJ or Department of Homeland Security grants.

The city has said its policies are legal, and vowed to sue if money is actually taken away.

Both the city and the county have identical ordinances on the books preventing local law enforcement from "expend (ing) their time responding to (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) inquiries or communicating with ICE regarding" individuals' incarceration status or release dates while on duty.

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