Justice Department Sets Deadline for Sanctuary Cities

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

"If anybody in the Trump administration would actually do some research before firing off letters, they would see that the City of New Orleans has already provided the Department of Justice documentation that shows we are in compliance with federal immigration laws", Landrieu said in a statement in response to the April letter.

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.

The U.S. Justice Department contends the city of Chicago and Cook County violated federal immigration laws when they were awarded public safety grants a year ago.

But New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu fired back, arguing - as he has on several previous occasions - that the city is in full compliance with federal law, while vowing that "the NOPD will not be the federal government's deportation force".

This is a developing story.

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"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", Sessions said in a statement.

CT had previously been listed as a jurisdiction that was out of compliance in a report compiled by President Barack Obama's Department of Justice in 2016.

The Byrne grants have become a high-profile battlefield between local governments and the Trump administration over the president's immigration policies.

"This is about making every member of this community feel safe because they have access to police, police services and they are willing and able to report crimes when they are either victims or witnesses to those crimes", Harrison said.

The section Sessions references, Section 1373, is a federal statute barring local and state governments from limiting communication regarding residents' immigration or citizenship status with federal officials. The DOJ says this restricts the sharing of information regarding undocumented immigrants.

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Philadelphia police policy forbids officers from asking about anyone's immigration status; city officials have said that when officers inadvertently learn about someone's immigration status, that information will make it into a police report only when that person is suspected of a crime.

Kenney has been an ardent supporter of Philadelphia's "sanctuary city" policies.

One condition requires the city to give federal agents, when requested, a 48-hour heads up of the scheduled release date and time "of an alien in the jurisdiction's custody". The DOJ letter suggests New Orleans' failure to meet its measure of compliance could put the city at risk for losing federal grant funding.

A Chicago federal judge last month imposed a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump administration from tying grants to two new conditions.

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