DOJ: Philly's sanctuary city policies violate federal law

DOJ: Philly's sanctuary city policies violate federal law

The Department of Justice has determined CT is in compliance with a law requiring the sharing of immigration information with federal authorities, affirming a belief held by top state officials.

Sanctuary jurisdictions generally opt not to cooperate with federal agents by notifying them of the immigration status of people who have been detained in connection with criminal activity.

New Orleans and the other cities have until Oct. 27 to prove compliance, the department said Thursday (Oct. 12).

Sessions and President Donald Trump have been vocal opponents of so-called "sanctuary cities", which enact policies to protect undocumented immigrants.

The Trump administration and other critics advocating an immigration crackdown - including Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry - have railed against so-called sanctuary cities, contending their policies make it harder for federal authorities to deport potentially risky criminals in the country illegally.

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.

"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.

The executive order, signed by Kenney on January 4, 2016, directs Philadelphia police to disregard detainer requests unless they are supported by a judicial warrant and involve a person being released after conviction for a first- or second-degree violent felony.

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The NOPD policy in question, which is governed by the city's federal consent decree, states that officers "shall not make inquiries into an individual's immigration status" except in certain circumstances.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu and other city officials said NOPD policies, which the Justice Department itself helped craft, already comply with federal law and that, "the NOPD will not be the federal government's deportation force".

In April, under President Trump, the department sent a letter to nine cities, including Philadelphia, New York, and Chicago, reminding them they had until the end of June to certify their compliance.

The policies violate a federal immigration statute that prohibits municipalities from restricting communications between government agencies and federal immigration authorities who seek the immigration status of an individual, according to the DOJ.

The department also wrote that the city's policy of not sharing the immigration status of victims of crime is also in violation of the law.

The Justice Department, however, apparently has dismissed the city's earlier responses.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber's ruling comes a month after he imposed a preliminary injunction blocking the administration from tying the grants to two new conditions, including that cities give immigration agents easy access to local jails.

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