Tuesday, 24 October, 2017

Justice Department warns cities on immigration law

DOJ to Chicago: Drop 'Sanctuary City' Laws or Lose Federal Funding Jeff Sessions says some cities reconsidered 'sanctuary' status to comply with DOJ
Cecilia Poole | 14 October, 2017, 00:51

The Department of Justice told five-out-of-the-10 jurisdictions allegedly defying federal immigration laws that they have until October 27 to submit evidence they are in compliance.

The cities of New York, Philadelphia and New Orleans are also out of compliance with federal law, according to the DOJ.

This week, the Justice Department sent letters to top city and county officials, including Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

The decision follows an April notification to New York City and eight other local governments asking them to prove they aren't giving official sanctuary to illegal immigrants. "The NOPD will continue to focus on the arrest and conviction of violent criminals, regardless of their immigration status".

The Justice Department on Thursday sent out a "last chance" warning for several US cities to comply with federal immigration laws, the latest step in a battle over so-called "sanctuary cities".

The section Sessions references, Section 1373, is a federal statute barring local and state governments from limiting communication regarding residents' immigration or citizenship status with federal officials. "As such, we continue to state unambiguously that Chapter 41.6.1 does not restrict officers and employees from requesting information regarding immigration status from federal immigration officers". The city's lawsuit is over whether the Justice Department has the power to withhold Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants from governments that don't cooperate with immigration agents in trying to identify and possibly deport people in the USA illegally. JAG stands for Justice Assistance Grant.

Since the inauguration and throughout the year, the City of Chicago has been at odds with the Trump Administration.

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.

"Unfortunately, the mayor has ignored my many warnings and continued to risk the safety, security and funding of our state's citizens", Landry said. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry also has pounced on New Orleans over the issue in the wake of Trump's immigration policies. "Mitch Landrieu is playing politics at the expense of New Orleans".

Sessions and President Donald Trump have been vocal opponents of so-called "sanctuary cities", which enact policies to protect undocumented immigrants. In the letter, the department did not specify what would happen if the city failed to do so. The City of New Orleans will not be side-tracked by caustic, political rhetoric that seeks to make us fearful of others and scapegoat immigrants.

The department also wrote that the city's policy of not sharing the immigration status of victims of crime is also in violation of the law.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber last month granted Emanuel a nationwide preliminary injunction preventing the Justice Department from applying new rules to grant recipients requiring them to cooperate with immigration agents to get the money. Several agencies and local governments in California had sued over the order.

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