DOJ to sanctuary cities: Prove compliance with laws or no federal funds

Owen Stevens
April 22, 2017

The statement was part of an ongoing dispute between Republican President Donald Trump and cities including NY over immigration policy, with the Trump administration threatening to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration authorities.

Nine areas across the country - identified by the DOJ's inspector general last May as having laws that potentially violate federal law - received letters wherein they were reminded that in order to obtain funding this year, they must prove that they are cooperating and sharing information with federal immigration enforcement.

The Justice Department's release this afternoon stating that New York City is somehow "soft on crime" and continues to see "gang murder after gang murder", demonstrates a willful disregard for the facts. But some of the localities continued to resist federal pressure, despite risking the loss of funds that police agencies use to pay for everything from body cameras to bulletproof vests.

"We're working with members on both sides of the aisle in both chambers to find a way forward", Spicer said.

The department's statement did not, however, offer any evidence to support a correlation between illegal immigration and increased violence in sanctuary cities.

"Milwaukee County has its challenges but they are not caused by illegal immigration", he said in a statement.

"Those policies, implemented by New York City's Mayor and his administration, are directly responsible for a risky MS-13 gang member walking out of Rikers Island in February", the spokesman said, switching the focus from the NYPD to the mayor.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions shakes hands with FBI Director James Comey before a meeting of the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Council and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces Executive Committee to discuss implementation of the P

Here in the United States, the Justice Department is putting more pressure on what are sometimes called sanctuary cities. The Justice Department told the local government officials to share immigration information by June 30 on people who have been arrested - or lose federal money.

In a press release accompanying the letters, the DOJ states that "many of these jurisdictions are also crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime", singling out Chicago and NY. So, for example, if a local police officer arrests somebody he knows is an immigrant in the United States illegally, he can not be prohibited from passing that information along to ICE. The Miami-Dade County Commission approved a resolution that dropped its sanctuary status and agreed to fully cooperate with federal immigration officials. For example, San Francisco has a 2013 "Due Process for All" ordinance that limits when local law enforcement may give ICE advance notice on a person's release from local jails.

In a statement, the NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association, a police union, said the Justice Department was "absolutely correct" and that City Hall has "placed in jeopardy millions in U.S. Department of Justice grant funds that we count on to help protect our communities".

He says the Trump administration's grandstanding is out of touch with reality. Cook County in IL and Miami Dade County in Florida round out the list.

Justice Department records show New Orleans received almost $266,000 in grant money through the program in fiscal 2016. CNBC reached out to the Justice Department for copies of the letters but didn't immediately hear back.

The Trump administration is moving to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Other reports by VgToday

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