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

Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions Wikimedia Commons

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.

A federal judge last month granted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel a preliminary injunction preventing the Justice Department from applying new rules to grant recipients. We will build relationships between the NOPD and all community members.

That's to protect victims and witnesses of crimes who would otherwise be afraid to come forward, city officials say. "The NOPD will continue to focus on the arrest and conviction of violent criminals, regardless of their immigration status".

Letters conveying those warnings were sent to officials in Chicago, Illinois, New Orleans, New York City, and Philadelphia. But, he says the NOPD will not be "the federal government's deportation force". In a statement announcing "last chance" letters to five cities that "may violate" federal law, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions 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". "Pursuant to standard training procedures, all officers and employees were notified about the policy in September 2016". The city's lawsuit is over whether the Justice Department has the power to withhold Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants from governments that don't cooperate with immigration agents in trying to identify and possibly deport people in the US illegally.

Connecticut's friendly stance toward undocumented immigrants has placed it under increased scrutiny during the Trump administration, which has pledged to take a more hard-line stance on illegal immigration.

The Justice Department has threatened to cut off federal dollars to New York City if it doesn't change its policies.


In a October 11 letter to Landrieu, the Department of Justice threatened a grant award because of an NOPD practice that "appears to bar New Orleans officers from requesting information regarding immigration status from federal immigration officers".

The federal immigration law in question states that a "federal, state, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual". "Mitch Landrieu is playing politics at the expense of New Orleans", Landry said in a statement.

In addition, Philadelphia is suing over other new requirements for policing grants that Sessions imposed on cities in July, aimed at punishing sanctuary cities.

The Justice Department, however, apparently has dismissed the city's earlier responses.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is giving the city a warning that can lead to sudden federal withdrawal of funds to sanctuary cities. One of the primary battles is that of Chicago's "sanctuary city" status.

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