DOJ gives last chance warning to NYC for sanctuary city policies

A letter from the Justice Department released Thursday said officials believe New York is violating a law requiring cooperation on immigration enforcement

President Donald Trump's Justice Department this week sent letters contending Chicago and Cook County violated federal immigration laws past year when they were awarded public safety grants. Though this rule is aimed at barring questions about immigrants' legal status, DOJ says it could be interpreted to bar NYPD members from requesting immigration info from federal immigration officers, which would be illegal.

"We welcome immigrants to the city of Philadelphia", Kenney said.

Two other jurisdictions, the state of CT and Milwaukee County, Wis., heeded Justice Department warnings and reversed policies meant to shield undocumented immigrants from possible deportation.

"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", Sessions said in a statement.

"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.

Landrieu added in his letter that the DOJ failed to note that the NOPD's operation manual states that officers are to follow the federal immigration statute, and that "the policy does not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, [ICE] information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual".

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"As we have maintained for years, the Department of Justice has confirmed that we are in full compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373", Mayor Mitch 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.

The letter from the Justice Department was a long awaited response after Landrieu, along with mayors from eight other jurisdictions including Sacramento, Chicago, Cook County, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Miami, Milwaukee and New York City, were first asked in April to certify that their policies were following immigration law.

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 pair have threatened to cut off federal funding to the cities - which include Hartford and New Haven - but so far that hasn't happened.

The Justice Department review brought better news for others.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber's ruling comes a month after he imposed a preliminary injunction blocking the administration from tying the grants to two new conditions, including that cities give immigration agents easy access to local jails.

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. Several agencies and local governments in California had sued over the order.

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