Justice Department latest sanctuary city move on Chicago, Cook County

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

In a letter to Landrieu, the acting assistant attorney general threatened a pot of federal grant funding for crime fighting in the city and gave the city a "last chance" to prove the Police Department is in compliance with a section of federal law that requires local governments and police to provide information to federal immigration enforcement agents.

Similar letters went to Chicago and Cook County where that city is located, Philadelphia and New Orleans telling them they're out of compliance.

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.

The latest salvo from the Trump administration does not specify why exactly it asserts the city and county are in violation, but gives them until October 27 to prove otherwise before the Justice Department reaches "its final determination" on the matter. U.S.C. 1373 - states that a federal, state or local government entity can not restrict any government entity from "sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual".

Mayor Jim Kenney is not budging from his position that Philadelphia will remain a sanctuary city, despite warnings from the Department of Justice.

And because Philadelphia police upload reports to crime databases that ICE can access, the city argued earlier this year, it isn't restricting communications with ICE.

A federal law known by the shorthand 1373 requires local police to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally for several days until investigators from Immigration and Customs Enforcement can intervene, even if the crime they're accused of is minor, or no charges are filed. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry also has pounced on New Orleans over the issue in the wake of Trump's immigration policies.

"Unfortunately, the mayor has ignored my many warnings and continued to risk the safety, security and funding of our state's citizens", Landry said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions argued it was wrong to apply an order nationally in a case brought by Chicago and that it should only apply to that city.

The Justice Department review brought better news for others.

State officials denied they had ever tried to impede federal immigration investigations by refusing to share information.

Sanctuary cities can be denied federal dollars under President Trump's January 25 executive order created to crack down on localities that protect undocumented immigrants from federal immigration authorities.

A Chicago federal judge last month imposed a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump administration from tying grants to two new conditions. The Justice Department is appealing the ruling, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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.

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