Justice Department Sets Deadline for Sanctuary Cities

The U.S. Department of Justice has put five U.S. jurisdictions on notice: end sanctuary policies by October 27.

The DOJ says that Chicago, IL; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA and Cook County, IL have failed to comply with a section of the law that prohibits government entities from impeding immigration agents.

Section 8 U.S.C. s. 1373 says that a state “may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.” 

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.

“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,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a release Thursday. 

“I urge all jurisdictions found to be out of compliance in this preliminary review to reconsider their policies that undermine the safety of their residents.” 

The DOJ did not specify what the consequences would be if the five jurisdictions failed to comply before the deadline. Sessions has said that federal grant money would be withheld from sanctuary jurisdictions.

In September, a federal judge put a temporary hold on the federal government's withholding grant money until a Chicago lawsuit against the DOJ makes its way through the courts.

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. 

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