Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Trump Justice Department says Chicago violated immigration rules on earlier grant

Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions Wikimedia Commons Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions Wikimedia Commons
Melinda Barton | 12 October, 2017, 23:19

The Justice Department on Thursday delivered a "last chance" warning to cities suspected of having "sanctuary" policies to drop their resistance to federal immigration officials.

Chicago, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and Cook County, Illinois, "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 on Thursday. It is giving those jurisdictions until October 27 to provide evidence demonstrating compliance. A federal judge sided with the city last month and issued a preliminary injunction barring the US government from denying public-safety grants.

The city has two weeks to write back to the Department. Though this rule is aimed at barring questions about immigrants' legal status, DOJ says it could be interpreted to bar NYPD members from requesting immigration info from federal immigration officers, which would be illegal.

"Chicago will not be blackmailed into changing our values, and we are and will remain a welcoming city", Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at a press conference announcing that suit.

An additional three policies also may not be in compliance, depending on the way Philadelphia applies them.

The DOJ assessment found an executive order signed by Kenney on his inauguration day and a 16-year-old police memorandum signed by former Police Commissioner John Timoney violate the federal statute.

The president cities deemed "sanctuary cities" by the Justice Department would lose law enforcement grants.

A law enforcement grant received by the city requires compliance with the law, the letter states.

If the government finds the cities and county are violating the statute that calls for information sharing with federal immigration officials, it says it could decide to cut federal funds for law enforcement.

Sanctuary jurisdictions generally opt not to cooperate with federal agents by notifying them of the immigration status of people who have been detained in connection with criminal activity.

"I commend the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office and the State of CT on their commitment to complying with Section 1373", Sessions said, "I urge all jurisdictions found to be out of compliance in this preliminary review to reconsider their policies that undermine the safety of their residents".

Former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, long outspoken in support of hardline immigration policies, left his post in August to become a top advisor to the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action.

The latest dispute stems from an order Sessions issued in July that requires jurisdictions to honor federal immigration detention requests in order to be eligible for certain justice assistance grants.