DOJ to Mayor Kenney: Philly's 'sanctuary' policies violate federal law

DOJ to Mayor Kenney: Philly's 'sanctuary' policies violate federal law

DOJ to Mayor Kenney: Philly's 'sanctuary' policies violate federal law

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.

The determinations came after the Justice Department earlier in the year had asked several local jurisdictions to detail their compliance with the law in order to make a determination about their eligibility for certain federal grants. Those cities were given a deadline of October 27 to provide the Justice Department with documentation proving their existing laws and law enforcement practices are in line with federal immigration policy. The Byrne grant applications "required you to comply" with the federal rules, according to the letters dated Wednesday from Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan Hanson and posted on the Justice Department Website.

The Trump administration has sought to punish sanctuary cities since January, when it issued an executive order to pull federal funding from any jurisdiction that limited cooperation with immigration authorities.

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

"We are reviewing DOJ's response, and are prepared to fight to protect critical public safety funding", Seth Stein, a de Blasio spokesman, told Newsweek.

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DOJ says this appears to violate the federal law's provision that local governments may not restrict the sharing of information with federal authorities about immigration or citizenship status.

City leaders have long maintained that fostering a good relationship between the police department and immigrant communities will help keep the city safer.

Sessions, in a statement accompanying the warnings, said "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".

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

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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