Justice Department: New Illinois immigration law could endanger grant funding

Vermont Republican Gov. State Complying With US Immigration Law

Justice Department: New Illinois immigration law could endanger grant funding

On Wednesday, the US Department of Justice put 29 states, counties, and cities on notice, demanding that they show they're cooperating with federal laws by sharing information with immigration authorities in what appears to be a tactic for the Trump administration to continue its fight to defund so-called sanctuary cities.

The Justice Department this summer announced new stipulations for the Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program that require cities to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in order to be considered eligible for the federal law enforcement funds.

Also on Wednesday, a federal judge in Philadelphia ruled that federal law enforcement grants dished out by the Justice Department can not be withheld from the City of Brotherly Love because of its so-called "sanctuary policies". Others included Seattle; Washington, D.C.; much of California; Louisville, Kentucky; the states of Illinois, Oregon and Vermont; and the home county of Albuquerque, N.M.

Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese has said federal and state laws prevent people being detained in OR jails based only on a request by immigration officials to hold them.

"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," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday of the announcement. This is somewhat complicated because most of these localities claim that they were already in compliance with the law, which technically only forbids them to interfere with communications between local and federal immigration agents; it does not ordain that local authorities actively try to find or detain illegal immigrants.

The Department of Justice periodically reviews the laws, policies, or practices of jurisdictions that previously certified compliance with Section 1373 as a condition of their FY2016 Byrne JAG awards. Sessions criticized the Sheriff's Office during a visit to Portland in September.

Despite the requests, the Justice Department said it had "not made a final determination regarding Denver's compliance with section 1373".

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RAW Four Bobcats Frolick in Vermont Neighborhood

In its application that year, Portland said it would use the money to hire a police crime analyst, retain a deputy district attorney and a probation officer, contract with a service to aid women involved in prostitution-related offenses and buy Tasers, digital signs and camera equipment.

In Wednesday's letter to White, Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan Hanson wrote that the Justice Department "is concerned" two parts of the city code "may violate section 1373".

The Justice Department said all 29 jurisdictions have until December 8 to demonstrate that their laws, policies or practices comply with Section 1373.

For general purposes, Section 1373 of federal law deals with the relaying of information between different levels of government - local, state and federal - regarding the status of people's citizenship.

"The DOJ's letter is a constitutionally dubious attempt by the Trump Administration to bully cities", said Jenna Espinoza, spokeswoman for the Mayor's Office.

Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles have been among cities that have since sued the Justice Department over the funding restrictions. Federal officials anxious that local policies were shielding illegal immigrants from deportation and contributing to rising crime rates reported in some cities.

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