Sanctuary cities threatened with loss of federal grant money

Justice Department threatens sanctuary cities in immigration fight sArtHead =

The Justice Department sent letters to officials in California, New York City, Philadelphia and other places singled out previous year by the agency's inspector general for regulations that interfere with the ability of police or sheriffs to communicate with federal immigration authorities about the status of prisoners in their custody.

And that's exactly what sanctuary cities are counting on. "New York City continues to see gang murder after gang murder, the predictable effect of the city's "soft on crime" stance".

In a statement, the Justice Department singled out Chicago and New York as two cities that are "crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime", even though New York City is experiencing its lowest crime levels in decades and experts say Chicago's recent spike in violent crime has little to do with illegal immigration.

"As made very clear in the department's release, it is New York City's policies that are soft on crime", the Department of Justice said.

So nakedly political is the Justice Department's attack that Sessions felt compelled to clarify that his beef was with Mayor de Blasio alone, not a city that "has done some great things in criminal justice". The grant program is the leading source of federal justice funding to states and local communities.

In California, where Democrats have waged a defiant opposition to the Trump administration, the state Senate leader, Kevin de León of Los Angeles, charged that it was basing its law enforcement policies "on principles of white supremacy - not American values".

In a press release Friday, the DOJ cited rising violence as a justification for the agency's crackdown on its immigration efforts. Defiance is likely to continue until the courts order sanctuary cities to comply. According to a since suspended U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement report, Clark County in Nevada declined to honor federal immigration detainers for undocumented immigrants more than any other jurisdiction.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions engaged in a war of words on Friday over a Department of Justice statement accusing the city of being "soft on crime". "Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars".

The statement was part of an ongoing dispute between Republican President Donald Trump and cities including NY over immigration policy.

Butterworth also says New Orleans police have no means or authority to enforce immigration laws or hold someone suspected of violating them. That city received almost $266,000 in grant money through the program in fiscal year 2016.

The Justice Department's inspector general has identified nine jurisdictions as limiting the information local law enforcement can provide to federal immigration authorities about those in their custody.

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