The Department of Justice recently warned 29 jurisdictions that their so-called “sanctuary” policies were in violation of federal immigration laws and gave them a fast-approaching deadline to scrap those policies.
On Nov. 15, the department informed officials in Illinois, Oregon, and Vermont, along with 26 cities and counties around the country, that they were found to have “laws, policies or practices” that violate federal immigration laws, according to the Washington Examiner.
The jurisdictions were also given an ultimatum — comply with Section 1373 of 8 U.S. Code by Dec. 8 or forfeit their public safety grants given under the DOJ’s Edward Bryne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, which funds millions of dollars yearly to support local law enforcement.
Section 1373 prohibits local and state governments from enacting laws or policies that limit communication with Immigration and Customs and Border Protection about “information regarding the immigration or citizenship status” of individuals.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said states, counties and cities that fail to comply with federal immigration laws with sanctuary policies “undermine the safety of their residents.”
“We urge jurisdictions to not only comply with Section 1373, but also to establish sensible and effective partnerships to properly process criminal aliens,” Sessions said.
One city that received a warning from the DOJ was Washington, D.C., where Mayor Muriel Bowser put forth a policy for the city’s Department of Corrections that stated “employees shall not inquire about a person’s immigration status or contact (ICE) for purposes of initiating civil enforcement immigration proceedings.”
In its letter to the city, the DOJ said the order “appears to restrict the requesting of information regarding immigration status,” thus putting it in violation of Section 1373, the Washington Examiner reported.
In addition to Illinois, Oregon, Vermont and the District of Columbia, the other jurisdictions that received letters on Wednesday were:
Albany, N.Y.; Berkeley, Calif.; Bernalillo County, N.M.; Burlington, Vt.; Contra Costa County, Calif.; City and County of Denver, Colo.; Fremont, Calif.; Jackson, Miss.; King County, Wash.; Lawrence, Mass.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Louisville Metro, Ky.; Middlesex, N.J.; Monterey County, Calif.; Multnomah County, Ore.; Newark, N.J.; Riverside County, Calif.; Sacramento County, Calif.; City and County of San Francisco, Calif.; Santa Ana, Calif.; Santa Clara County, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; Sonoma County, Calif.; Watsonville, Calif., and West Palm Beach, Fla.
Sessions sent similar warning letters to other jurisdictions earlier this year.
In April, Sacramento, Chicago, Cook County, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Miami, Milwaukee, and New York City were asked to prove compliance with federal immigration law.
In October, Chicago, New Orleans, New York, and Philadelphia, as well as Cook County, Ill., were told they had a “last chance” to prove they were not “sanctuaries” for illegal immigrants.
It remains to be seen how effective Sessions’ threat to block funding will be, though, as federal judges have already limited the department’s attempts to do so.
In fact, the same day the warning letters were sent out, a federal judge issued an injunction against the department’s attempt to pull $1.6 million from Philadelphia as punishment for not complying with federal immigration law, according to the Washington Times.
Hopefully, the jurisdictions that received letters from the DOJ will seriously rethink their decision to shelter illegal immigrants from federal law enforcement. With or without the threat of losing funds, protecting criminals from the law isn’t beneficial to anyone.
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