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

Sessions calls for crackdown on asylum policies

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Cities and states with "sanctuary policies" have 15 days to provide evidence of compliance with federal immigration laws, the US Department of Justice has announced, singling out five jurisdictions including Chicago and NY.

News reports that Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and New Orleans have "laws, policies or practices" that violate a federal statute requiring that local governments comply with federal immigration officials in deporting suspected undocumented immigrants in local jails, according to a Justice Department news release.

Sessions in April sent letters to seven jurisdictions, asking them to show how they were compliance with the law and thus eligible to receive federal grants.

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.

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"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", Sessions said.

The Justice Department said it had found no evidence that four other jurisdictions - Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Clark County, Nevada, Miami-Dade County, Florida and the State of CT - were in violation of the statue, known as Section 1373. Clark County, Nevada and Miami-Dade County, Florida, were certified earlier this year.

Connecticut's friendly stance toward undocumented immigrants has placed it under increased scrutiny during the Trump administration, which has pledged to take a more hard-line stance on illegal immigration.

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Although the sanctuary city debate has boiled over in the age of Trump, it is a long-standing fight.

States are fighting back against the threats, however.

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. The assessment is its latest effort to force "sanctuary cities" to comply with federal immigration orders.

Several jurisdictions have filed suit against the federal government arguing such orders violate the 10th Amendment by compelling states to enforce federal immigration laws. Judge Orlando Garcia said the measure would "erode public trust and make many communities and neighborhoods less safe". Perhaps ironically, another major Trump supporter, Republican former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, memorably offered a dramatic defense of policies that shielded immigrants from persecution while running City Hall in the 1990s.

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