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

12 October 2017

In August, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante announced a lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions over withholding grant funds by imposing new and "unprecedented" requirements to show compliance.

News reports that Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and New Orleans have "laws, policies or practices" that violate a federal statute requiring that local governments comply with federal immigration officials in deporting suspected undocumented immigrants in local jails, according to a Justice Department news release.

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. But as the administration's attempts to withhold broader swathes of federal funding from sanctuary cities have been consistently challenged in court, the DOJ has honed in on smaller targets: namely, the $1.67 million policing grant issued a year ago, which the city has used for overtime and police training.

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 past year.

WASHINGTON - Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday warned so-called sanctuary cities they...

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has maintained CT is in compliance with all federal immigration law, but he has reminded state and local police that they have no obligation to act as enforcers of immigration law, which is a federal matter.

An NOPD policy "may" violate the statute, according to the Justice Department, "depending on how your jurisdiction interprets and applies them".

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But leaders in cities that have under fire from the Trump administration have argued that turning police into immigration officers destroys trust between police and immigrant communities, making it less likely for people to report crimes or come forward with evidence. It cleared Madison, Wisconsin and the state of CT of any sanctuary city wrongdoing, joining Clark County, Nevada and Miami-Dade County, Florida, which had been previously exonerated.

Although the sanctuary city debate has boiled over in the age of Trump, it is a long-standing fight.

The Justice Department also found Chicago, New Orleans, New York City and Cook County, Illinois, to be in violation.

The Trump administration has said enforcing immigration law is vital to national security and crime reduction.

The Trump administration's Justice Department, however, apparently have dismissed the city's earlier responses.

The city's police department revised its policy past year to clarify that officers aren't barred from communicating with immigration officials and requires them to follow federal law.

Other policies highlighted in the letters keep CPD officers and Cook County Sheriff's deputies from assisting in investigations into residents' immigration status, or from requesting information about their immigration status unless required by law. The mayor called those comments "just plain wrong". "Irrespective of immigration status, our police departments every day are out there aggressively making sure the streets of America are safe".

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