Justice Department latest sanctuary city move on Chicago, Cook County

Lynne Hanson
Октября 14, 2017

In April, under President Trump, the department sent a letter to nine cities, including Philadelphia, New York, and Chicago, reminding them they had until the end of June to certify their compliance.

The latest salvo from the Trump administration does not specify why exactly it asserts the city and county are in violation, but gives them until October 27 to prove otherwise before the Justice Department reaches "its final determination" on the matter.

In a letter to Landrieu, Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Alan Hanson said NOPD policies - which include preventing officers from inquiring about immigration status - "may violate" a section of federal law involving local authorities communicating with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). unless it can prove that the policy does not "restrict New Orleans officers and employees from requesting information regarding immigration status from federal immigration officers".

But the DOJ said in its reply on Wednesday that the city's policy of not informing ICE when an inmate or detainee is released from custody does violate federal law.

This is a developing story.

Eddie Johnson and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, along with a handful of other so-called sanctuary cities around the country, come as Mayor Rahm Emanuel continues a federal court fight with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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At stake is a policing grant that the city received from the department in 2016 - and, Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened earlier this year, future grants, too.

"Instead of fear-mongering and false accusations, we urge you to work with mayors across the nation to tackle violent crime through smart, evidence-based policing", Landrieu said. Proponents have argued that enlisting street-level police to enforce national immigration policy makes it harder for them to investigate and stop crimes, because undocumented immigrants won't cooperate if they think they will be deported.

Mayor Jim Kenney is not budging from his position that Philadelphia will remain a sanctuary city, despite warnings from the Department of Justice. The DOJ letter suggests New Orleans' failure to meet its measure of compliance could put the city at risk for losing federal grant funding.

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.

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

Millions of dollars in federal money are at stake if those jurisdictions can not prove they are abiding by federal immigration laws.

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