DOJ to Chicago: Drop 'Sanctuary City' Laws or Lose Federal Funding

New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez make a plea to ICE to stop conducting raids in New York courthouses

A letter from the Justice Department released Thursday said officials believe NY is violating a law requiring cooperation on immigration enforcement.

A similar letter was sent to seven municipalities, including Chicago, New York and New Orleans.

The Justice Department has also flagged Cook County, Illinois, where Chicago is located. Those cities were given a deadline of October 27 to provide the Justice Department with documentation proving their existing laws and law enforcement practices are in line with federal immigration policy.

The letters don't say what will happen if the cities don't comply.

The United States Justice Department singled out four cities and a county on Thursday for allegedly having so-called "sanctuary policies" that may violate a federal law that says local governments can not limit information sharing with USA immigration officials.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a written statement that sanctuary cities "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".

"I commend the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office and the State of CT on their commitment to complying with Section 1373", Sessions said, "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". Big-city mayors including New York's Bill de Blasio and Chicago's Rahm Emanuel have openly defied federal instructions to turn in undocumented immigrants.

DOJ says this appears to violate the federal law's provision that local governments may not restrict the sharing of information with federal authorities about immigration or citizenship status.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued the warning to officials in Cook County, Chicago and three other major cities this week, saying sanctuary laws in place within their jurisdictions may violate federal law and "undermine the safety of their residents".

Former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, long outspoken in support of hardline immigration policies, left his post in August to become a top advisor to the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action.

City solicitor Sozi Tulante responded that the city does share information, but that information doesn't include immigration status, because the city doesn't ask for it.

In a separate case filed by several cities and counties in California, the Justice Department in a June filing acknowledged that immigration detainer requests are voluntary, and that Sessions had not said that non-compliance with detainer requests would count as a breach of Section 1373.

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