Washington threatens funding cut to California, other 'sanctuary' areas

Wendy Jensen
April 22, 2017

The jurisdictions that received the letter and other sanctuary cities deny that they violate the federal statute, arguing it only requires sharing immigration status, which they say the do, but not compliance with ICE requests like detainers. The grants in question are based on population and support an array of programs, technology and equipment for local law enforcement agencies, which can use the money at their discretion.

A Justice Department statement accompanying the letters also claimed that illegal immigration into the United States has served to increase crime these cities.

De Leon has been an outspoken critic of the administration's immigration crackdown. "Their constant and systematic targeting of diverse cities and states goes beyond constitutional norms and will be challenged at every level".

The Justice Department is threatening to cut off NY from a grant program named after an NYPD officer slain while protecting an immigrant because of New York's "sanctuary city" status - and knocking the city for being "soft on crime".

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Mayor Mitch Landrieu's executive counsel and director of federal relations said the city reviewed a letter Friday from the Justice Department.

"We did not become the safest big city in America by becoming 'soft on crime, ' a visibly irritated DeBlasio said".

A number of sanctuary cities have sued over the executive order.

Zach Butterworth says the city has no problem and drafted its policies in consultation with federal immigration and homeland security officials. He noted that the law referenced in the Justice Department's letter was on the books before President Donald Trump took office.

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The mayor said the Trump administration's grandstanding is out of touch with reality.

The Department of Justice sent similar letters to officials in California, Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans, all places the Justice Department's inspector general has identified as limiting the information local law enforcement can provide to federal immigration authorities about those in their custody. That's the latest effort from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to punish cities for protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation.

"A federal, state or local government entity or official may not prohibit or in any way restrict any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual", the letter said. That city received almost $266,000 in grant money through the program in fiscal year 2016, used to pay for testing DNA kits, police body cameras, attorneys for domestic violence victims and other expenses.

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