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DOJ gives last chance warning to NYC for sanctuary city policies
12 October 2017, 09:08 | Glen Norman
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 city has been receiving these funds since 2005, spending $33 million on equipment and almost 1,000 police vehicles over the years.
New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia join Chicago and Cook County in remaining out of compliance, the Justice Department said.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued the warning to officials in Cook County, Chicago and three other major cities this week, saying sanctuary laws in place within their jurisdictions may violate federal law and "undermine the safety of their residents".
The Department of Justice has determined CT is in compliance with a law requiring the sharing of immigration information with federal authorities, affirming a belief held by top state officials.
A federal law known by the shorthand 1373 requires local police to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally for several days until investigators from Immigration and Customs Enforcement can intervene, even if the crime they're accused of is minor, or no charges are filed. In May, Sessions threatened that non-compliant cities could see grants withheld or "clawed back", or be barred from receiving grants in the future.
Although the sanctuary city debate has boiled over in the age of Trump, it is a long-standing fight.
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 previous year.
That's to protect victims and witnesses of crimes who would otherwise be afraid to come forward, city officials say.
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.
In a letter to the Malloy administration this week a top DOJ official said he found "no evidence that the State of CT is now out of compliance" with the information-sharing requirement.
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The Landrieu administration didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday morning.
"State and local law enforcement agencies are not required to engage in the enforcement of federal immigration law", Malloy wrote to police chiefs earlier this year.
Sessions' Justice Department made a point of noting the feds found no evidence of non-compliance with Wisconsin's Milwaukee County, along with CT. County, Illinois; Chicago; New Orleans; New York; and Philadelphia were deemed out of compliance.
The Kenney administration has until October 27 to submit a response to the DOJ assessment before a final determination is made, Hanson wrote. In the letter, the department did not specify what would happen if the city failed to do so.
CT had previously been listed as a jurisdiction that was out of compliance in a report compiled by President Barack Obama's Department of Justice in 2016.
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