DOJ Reviewing Sanctuary Cities’ Claims to Be in Compliance with Federal Law

The Justice Department announced Thursday that it has received and is reviewing claims of compliance from ten suspected “sanctuary” jurisdictions.

“It is not enough to assert compliance, the jurisdictions must actually be in compliance,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a press release. The statement continued:

Sanctuary cities put the lives and well-being of their residents at risk by shielding criminal illegal aliens from federal immigration authorities. These policies give sanctuary to criminals, not to law-abiding Americans. The Trump Administration is determined to keep every American neighborhood safe and that is why we have asked these cities to comply with federal law, specifically 8 U.S.C. 1373. The Department of Justice has now received letters from ten jurisdictions across the United States claiming that they are in compliance with what federal law requires of them, and we will examine these claims carefully. Residents have a right to expect basic compliance with federal law from their local and state governments.

DOJ had previously demanded that each of these ten jurisdictions, commonly called “sanctuary cities” over their refusal to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts, provide them with a legal analysis proving they were in compliance with federal law. The targets included such notorious pro-illegal alien governments as Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago and the “sanctuary state” of California. Specifically, they were asked to address 8 USC § 1373 which provides:

[L]ocal government entity or official 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.

The original demand letters gave a deadline of June 30 for the ten jurisdictions to comply or face losing their  Byrne Grants, a major source of federal law enforcement funding. The other cities affected are New York City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Miami, and Milwaukee.

Attorney General Sessions has made the withholding of federal grant money from sanctuary cities a major goal of his tenure at DOJ. The Department is currently embroiled in litigation over other efforts to withhold funds. The law authorizing Bryne Grants comes with a congressional admoniti0n that they not be distributed to jurisdictions violating 8 USC § 1373. The “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act,” passed by the House last week, extends similar provisions to other federal law enforcement grants.


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