Justice Dept. gives 'last chance' for sanctuary cities to comply


President Donald Trump's Justice Department this week sent letters contending Chicago and Cook County violated federal immigration laws previous year when they were awarded public safety grants. Immigration is a federal matter.

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.

U.S. District Court Judge Harry Leinenweber ruled last month that the Justice Department couldn't withhold law-enforcement grant money from cities that refuse to follow tough new immigration requirements like giving the federal agents access to municipal jails.

Proponents of "sanctuary cities", like Kenney, say they create trust between police and immigrants, who otherwise might be afraid to report crimes.

The cities cited by the Justice Department were New York, Chicago and surrounding Cook County, Ill., New Orleans and Philadelphia.

Milwaukee County and the State of CT, which did not receive letters in the initial review, were also found to be compliant.

"We urge jurisdictions to not only comply with Section 1373 but to establish sensible and effective partnerships to properly process criminal aliens", he added.

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 feds also take issue with a city executive order saying cops shouldn't inquire about New Yorkers' immigration status.

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.

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.

The Kenney administration has until October 27 to submit a response to the DOJ assessment before a final determination is made, Hanson wrote.

New Orleans officials are holding a news conference Thursday to discuss the city's compliance with federal immigration law.

Sanctuary cities can be denied federal dollars under President Trump's January 25 executive order created to crack down on localities that protect undocumented immigrants from federal immigration authorities.