Justice Dept. Threatens to Cut Funding for 9 Major 'Sanctuary' Jurisdictions

William Conlon. | Brian Jackson  For the Sun-Times

She declined to speculate as to why Philadelphia was among the cities singled out by the Justice Department.

The jurisdictions included New York City, Chicago and the surrounding Cook County, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Miami-Dade County in Florida and the state of California, which were all identified in a May 2016 Justice Department inspector general report as in violation. He said that sanctuary city was an ill-defined term and New Orleans did not accept the moniker.

"We don't think there's a problem", he said.

The report also recommended that the department consider issuing guidance to grant recipients, require certification that they are complying with the federal law, consult with ICE and other law enforcement agencies to gauge whether the cities were sharing immigration information, and make sure that grant recipients "clearly communicate" to employees that they "cannot be prohibited or restricted from sending citizenship or immigration status information to ICE". That potentially includes $9 million in DOJ grants to the city.

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He says the Trump administration's grandstanding is out of touch with reality.

The department's statement did not, however, offer any evidence to support a correlation between illegal immigration and increased violence in sanctuary cities.

The Justice Department statement blasted NY for gang murders there, labeling them "the predictable outcome of the city's "soft on crime" stance".

Still, if the jurisdictions fail to prove they are in full compliance, they could lose the Office of Justice Programs Byrne JAG grant, which provides funding for personnel, training, and equipment, among other things.

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The US Justice Department singled out Chicago and NY as two cities that are "crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime", even though NYC is experiencing its lowest crime levels in decades and experts say Chicago's recent spike in violent crime has little to do with illegal immigration.

The board works closely with local law enforcement agencies, including administering police agency grants and training programs.

"Milwaukee County has its challenges but they are not caused by illegal immigration".

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says "neither the facts nor the law" are on the department's side. The Justice Department has fought the cases in court, and acting assistant attorney general Chad Readler argued at a recent hearing that it was premature for the judge to consider because the Justice Department had not yet taken any sort of "enforcement action".

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Zach Butterworth, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's executive counsel and director of federal relations, said the city drafted its policies in consultation with federal immigration and Homeland Security officials. "My far greater concern is the proactive dissemination of misinformation, fear and intolerance", said Milwaukee County executive Chris Abele. "Not only does it limit cooperation between immigration and local law enforcement, but it ensures that state and local institutions do not participate in Trump's deportation agenda".

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