Justice Department Warns 'Sanctuary Cities,' With Grant Money At Risk
Justice Department Warns 'Sanctuary Cities,' With Grant Money At Risk
Justice Dept. Threatens to Cut Funding for 9 Major 'Sanctuary' Jurisdictions
22 April, 2017, 02:09
Sessions sent letters to the nine jurisdictions, including Philadelphia, New York and Chicago, in the latest sign that the Trump administration intends to punish what are sometimes called sanctuary cities that do not cooperate in its promised crackdown on illegal immigration.
Supt. Eddie Johnson and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle were both sent letters from the department, along with officials in New Orleans, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Miami, Milwaukee, New York City. Justice said each had been identified in a 2016 inspector general report as having laws that may violate federal law. Chicago has been a sanctuary city since the 1980s.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, right, speaks as Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly listens after the pair toured the ports of entry and met with Justice Department and DHS personnel Thursday in El Paso, Tex.
The report said the jurisdictions have local rules or regulations that interfere with local law enforcement's ability to share information with federal authorities about the immigration status of people in custody. Investigators for the DOJ's watchdog said they believed some sanctuary city policies "may be causing local officials to believe and apply the policies in a manner that prohibits or restricts cooperation with ICE in all respects". Policies in some sanctuary cities relate to how the city responds to "detainer" requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with numerous cities refusing to continue to hold individuals who would otherwise be released unless ICE provides a warrant.
The Justice Department statement blasted NY for gang murders there, labeling them "the predictable outcome of the city's "soft on crime" stance".
The mayor said it shows how out of touch the administration is. Ultimately what they're doing is conflating immigrants with criminality,"she said".
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The US Justice Department singled out Chicago and NY as two cities that are "crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime", even though NYC is experiencing its lowest crime levels in decades and experts say Chicago's recent spike in violent crime has little to do with illegal immigration.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said in a statement: "Neither the facts nor the law are on their side".
The grants in question are based on population and support an array of programs, technology and equipment for local law enforcement agencies, which can use the money at their discretion.
A number of sanctuary cities have sued over the executive order.
What that generally means is that each jurisdiction has passed regulations limiting how much their law enforcement officials with cooperate with immigration agents. "My far greater concern is the proactive dissemination of misinformation, fear and intolerance", said Milwaukee County executive Chris Abele.
The letters from Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan Hanson stated the Justice Department "expects each of these jurisdictions to comply with this grant condition and to submit all documentation to the Office of Justice Programs" by June 30.
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