DOJ says New Orleans, others given 'last chance' over 'sanctuary' immigration policies

Elias Hubbard
October 12, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said four major USA cities and one large county in IL are not in compliance with federal immigration laws, and gave them a two-week, "last chance" warning to get their policies up to code.

The U.S. Justice Department has informed New Orleans leaders that the city is in full compliance with federal immigration laws.

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.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued the warning to officials in Cook County, Chicago and three other major cities this week, saying sanctuary laws in place within their jurisdictions may violate federal law and "undermine the safety of their residents".

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

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

Sessions, in a statement accompanying the warnings, 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". "On its face, the Department has determined that this. appears to restrict Chicago police officers" ability to "assist' federal immigration officers by sharing information regarding immigration status with the federal officers".

City officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

When the Justice Department included New Orleans on a preliminary list of alleged "sanctuary cities" in April, the city's leadership fired back, accusing federal leaders of not "doing their homework".

The letter is the latest salvo in a protracted battle between the Trump administration, with its hardline immigration policies, and city officials, who have insisted their sanctuary policies on undocumented immigrants make the city safer and do not break the law.

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. In the letter, the department did not specify what would happen if the city failed to do so.

But the policy also instructs cops not to ask about immigration status in the course of an investigation, something police officials have said is crucial to encouraging witnesses and victims in immigrant communities to cooperate with detectives and report crimes.

"I'm not aware of any police department that releases violent criminals on the streets of America", Landrieu said at the time.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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