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Justice Department Threatens Funding Over Philadelphia Immigration Policies
13 October 2017, 12:10 | Bernice Figueroa
Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions Wikimedia Commons
Federal and local officials have battled over sanctuary city protections not only as a matter of law, but one of finance: The Trump administration has threatened to deny uncooperative cities funding from Washington if they don't comply.
Cities on the attorney general's warning list include New York, Philadelphia and New Orleans, as well as Chicago and surrounding Cook County in IL.
President Donald Trump's Justice Department this week sent letters contending Chicago and Cook County violated federal immigration laws a year ago when they were awarded public safety grants.
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.
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.
The feds are giving what they call a "last chance" warning to NY that the city's immigrant-friendly policies may cost it federal grants.
The president cities deemed "sanctuary cities" by the Justice Department would lose law enforcement grants.
"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 in a statement.
Some cities say they will only honor detainers accompanied by criminal warrants, and that compliance with the requests is voluntary and not required under the statute.
"We are reviewing DOJ's response, and are prepared to fight to protect critical public safety funding", Seth Stein, a de Blasio spokesman, told Newsweek.
The U.S. Department of Justice says it's giving local officials a "last chance" to drop so-called "sanctuary city" policies and get into compliance with federal lawor risklosing grant money moving forward.
A federal law known by the shorthand 1373 requires local police to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally for several days until investigators from Immigration and Customs Enforcement can intervene, even if the crime they're accused of is minor, or no charges are filed.
The city has said its policies are legal, and vowed to sue if money is actually taken away.
City solicitor Sozi Tulante responded that the city does share information, but that information doesn't include immigration status, because the city doesn't ask for it.
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