DOJ to Chicago: Drop 'Sanctuary City' Laws or Lose Federal Funding

Justice Department Gives

The United States Justice Department singled out four cities and a county on Thursday for allegedly having so-called "sanctuary policies" that may violate a federal law that says local governments can not limit information sharing with USA immigration officials.

The U.S. Department of Justice, in separate letters to Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle penned Wednesday, highlights several active policies created to shield undocumented immigrants from being unduly targeted by law enforcement entities.

The letter gives the city until October 27 to submit more documents proving they're in compliance before the feds make a final decision about the money.

The Trump administration has taken a hard stance against so-called "sanctuary cities" like Philadelphia, claiming they leave violent criminals on the streets. Eddie Johnson and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, along with a handful of other so-called sanctuary cities around the country, come as Mayor Rahm Emanuel continues a federal court fight with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The city has two weeks to write back to the Department.

NBC10 will livestream a press conference with Mayor Jim Kenney at 4:30 p.m.

An additional three policies also may not be in compliance, depending on the way Philadelphia applies them.

At issue, according to the Justice Department letter, are city and county restrictions on cooperation with federal agents to determine the "immigration status of any person". It determined Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, and CT to be in compliance.

Two other jurisdictions that were asked to prove their compliance with the law - Milwaukee County and the state of CT - were cleared in the letters released Thursday.

The executive order, signed by Kenney on January 4, 2016, directs Philadelphia police to disregard detainer requests unless they are supported by a judicial warrant and involve a person being released after conviction for a first- or second-degree violent felony.

Sanctuary jurisdictions generally opt not to cooperate with federal agents by notifying them of the immigration status of people who have been detained in connection with criminal activity.

Kenney has been an ardent supporter of Philadelphia's "sanctuary city" policies. "On its face, the Department has determined that this. appears to restrict Chicago police officers" ability to "assist' federal immigration officers by sharing information regarding immigration status with the federal officers".

The section Sessions references, Section 1373, is a federal statute barring local and state governments from limiting communication regarding residents' immigration or citizenship status with federal officials. But his office did not immediately comment on the letter.

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