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

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U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber last month granted Emanuel a nationwide preliminary injunction preventing the Justice Department from applying new rules to grant recipients requiring them to cooperate with immigration agents to get the money.

President Donald Trump's Justice Department this week sent letters contending Chicago and Cook County violated federal immigration laws past year when they were awarded public safety grants. It determined Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, and CT to be in compliance.

Offending cities and states stand to lose money from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (or JAG grant), which provided Philadelphia with $1.6 million in 2016 to spend on police overtime, training, equipment, courtroom technology and other aspects of the criminal justice system.

It comes after suggestions from Washington that New Orleans was a so-called "sanctuary city" that attempted to shield illegal immigrants from federal enforcement.

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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.

"We are reviewing DOJ's response, and are prepared to fight to protect critical public safety funding", Seth Stein, a de Blasio spokesman, told Newsweek.

"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. They have until October 27 to show they're in compliance.

NY refuses requests by the feds, known as detainers, to hold undocumented immigrants arrested for most crimes and turn them over for possible deportation.

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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. Requiring New Orleans Police to demand information about immigration status, local officials argued, would only lead to immigrants fearing and mistrusting police, rather than cooperating with them.

Sessions subsequently issued a memo that limited the categories of federal funding that would be in jeopardy to DOJ or Department of Homeland Security grants. Under the law, dubbed the California Values Act, local law enforcement will be prohibited from asking suspects about immigration status "during routine interactions" or complying with "unconstitutional" detainer requests from federal immigration officials.

"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".

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