Justice Department latest sanctuary city move on Chicago, Cook County

Justice Department latest sanctuary city move on Chicago, Cook County

In a letter to Mayor Kenney this week, Department of Justice officials said that they have concluded Philadelphia's sanctuary policies violate federal law, giving the city two weeks to argue the decision or risk losing federal grant money.

The department said Thursday that New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, and Cook County in IL along with its largest city Chicago, "have preliminarily been found" to have policies that violate the law.

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.

The Trump administration and other critics advocating an immigration crackdown - including Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry - have railed against so-called sanctuary cities, contending the policies make it harder for federal authorities to deport potentially risky criminals in the country illegally.

President Donald Trump, of course, has made immigration crackdowns - from deportations to increased border patrols to travel restrictions - a signature part of his first months in office after campaigning heavily on the issue past year.

"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", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.

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.

An NOPD policy "may" violate the statute, according to the Justice Department, "depending on how your jurisdiction interprets and applies them".

A similar letter was sent to seven municipalities, including Chicago, New York and New Orleans.

"I commend the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office and the State of CT on their commitment to complying with Section 1373", Sessions said, "I urge all jurisdictions found to be out of compliance in this preliminary review to reconsider their policies that undermine the safety of their residents".

Kenney has been an ardent supporter of Philadelphia's "sanctuary city" policies.

The Department of Justice is once again threatening to cut off funding for Philadelphia if the city maintains its sanctuary status.

Spokesmen for CPD, Cook County and the mayor did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday morning.

The Trump administration in April named New Orleans in a list of cities it had concerns about in regards to immigration law. That law says local governments "may not prohibit, or in any way restrict" the delivery of information about "the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual" to federal immigration authorities. "Irrespective of immigration status, our police departments every day are out there aggressively making sure the streets of America are safe".

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