After accusations that the City of New Orleans was illegally operating as a "sanctuary city" in defiance of Federal law, the Department of Justice today certified that the NOPD is, in fact, in full compliance with the law. The Department of Justice's letter to the city appears to suggest that its attorneys believe any restriction at all on local police inquiring about an immigrant's status by definition would violate federal law.
The Justice Department is giving four so-called sanctuary cities a "last chance" to show they're not thwarting enforcement of USA immigration law before possibly losing federal grants that help pay for public safety equipment.
The Department of Justice found New York City isn't complying with federal immigration laws and ordered the Big Apple to prove it's not a sanctuary city by October 27 or risk losing millions in federal grant dollars.
This is a developing story.
"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.
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.
The letter covers fiscal year 2016 grants, not the fiscal year 2017 grants now tied up in court because of new conditions the Trump administration connected to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant. 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.
New Orleans and the other cities have until Oct. 27 to prove compliance, the department said Thursday (Oct. 12).
Millions of dollars in federal money are at stake if those jurisdictions can not prove they are abiding by federal immigration laws.
Since the inauguration and throughout the year, the City of Chicago has been at odds with the Trump Administration.
In a notice reviewed by Fox News, the DOJ announced that five jurisdictions "have preliminarily been found to have laws, policies, or practices that may violate" a key federal statute concerning cooperation with federal immigration officials.
Mayor Jim Kenney is not budging from his position that Philadelphia will remain a sanctuary city, despite warnings from the Department of Justice.
The Trump administration's threats to yank federal grant funding for local jurisdictions they deem "sanctuary cities" have also triggered several lawsuits from targeted cities.
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.
One condition requires the city to give federal agents, when requested, a 48-hour heads up of the scheduled release date and time "of an alien in the jurisdiction's custody".