Justice Department Threatens Funding Over Philadelphia Immigration Policies

New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez make a plea to ICE to stop conducting raids in New York courthouses
Sessions Says Connecticut Is In Compliance With Immigration Information-Sharing Law
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13 October, 2017

In August, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante announced a lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions over withholding grant funds by imposing new and "unprecedented" requirements to show compliance. U.S.C. 1373 - states that a federal, state or local government entity can not restrict any government entity from "sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual".

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement that the cities still in the department's crosshairs "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".

Similar letters went to Chicago and Cook County where that city is located, Philadelphia and New Orleans telling them they're out of 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. A federal judge sided with the city last month and issued a preliminary injunction barring the US government from denying public-safety grants.

The department said New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, and Cook County in IL along with its largest city Chicago, "have preliminarily been found" to have policies that violate the law.

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.

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

In a separate case filed by several cities and counties in California, the Justice Department in a June filing acknowledged that immigration detainer requests are voluntary, and that Sessions had not said that non-compliance with detainer requests would count as a breach of Section 1373.

The jurisdictions have until October 27 to show they don't have any codes or policies preventing local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

Sessions' Justice Department made a point of noting the feds found no evidence of non-compliance with Wisconsin's Milwaukee County, along with CT.

The DOJ also cleared four jurisdictions of failing to comply with Section 8 U.S.C. s. 1373: Milwaukee County, WI; the state of Connecticut; Clark County, NV; and Miami-Dade County, FL.

But, the process might not be as smooth for the jurisdictions facing that October 27 deadline.


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