Four US 'sanctuary cities' may be violating law: US Attorney General Sessions

Four US 'sanctuary cities' may be violating law: US Attorney General Sessions

Four US 'sanctuary cities' may be violating law: US Attorney General Sessions

The Justice Department determined that these policies violate federal immigration law because they restrict the sharing of information regarding immigration status, Hanson noted in his letter.

The feds are giving what they call a "last chance" warning to NY that the city's immigrant-friendly policies may cost it federal grants.

In a letter issued Thursday, the DOJ warned the city it has "laws, policies or practices" that violate a federal statute requiring local governments to comply with federal immigration officials in deporting suspected undocumented immigrants in local jails. 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. Sessions has said that federal grant money would be withheld from sanctuary jurisdictions.

The Department also sent letters to officials in New Orleans, New York City and Philadelphia.

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 United States Justice Department singled out four cities and a county on Thursday for allegedly having so-called "sanctuary policies" that may violate a federal law that says local governments can not limit information sharing with US immigration officials.

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In August, the city of Chicago sued Sessions over its efforts to stop federal money from going to sanctuary cities through Byrne Justice Assistance Grants.

Seth Stein, a spokesman for New York City, said the mayor's office was "prepared to fight to protect critical public safety funding".

In a separate case filed by several cities and counties in California, the Justice Department in a June filing acknowledged that immigration detainer requests are voluntary, and that Sessions had not said that non-compliance with detainer requests would count as a breach of Section 1373.

"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".

DOJ points to two other provisions on the books in the city, one that bars city employees from disclosing confidential information including immigration status - though that rule has an exception when disclosure is required by law - and one that says Department of Correction shouldn't spend time on the job responding to federal immigration inquiries.

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