Justice Department Issues Warning Letter to L.A. Over Sanctuary City Policy


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The Trump Administration has launched a new attack against jurisdictions it considers to be 'sanctuary cities' despite a federal judge putting the brakes on a similar attempt earlier in the day. 

The Justice Department sent out warning letters to more than two dozen cities, counties and states that it believes is out of compliance with federal law. The letter, (one of which was sent here to Los Angeles), demanded the city certify they are complying with federal immigration law, or risk losing millions of dollars in funding through a federal law enforcement program.

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

Section 1373 bars jurisdictions from restricting or prohibiting the sending of immigration information about individuals to federal authorities. The Obama Administration made compliance with 1373 mandatory as a requirement for cities and counties to receive justice assistance funds in 2016.

The letters were sent out on the same day as a federal judge presiding over ongoing litgation related to sanctuary cities in Pennsylvania, barred the Justice Department from taking grant money away from the city of Philadelphia. Federal judges have now limited the administration on its efforts to block funds from cities twice now. 

The letters remind the recipient jurisdictions that, as a condition for receiving certain FY2016 funding from the Department of Justice, each of these jurisdictions agreed to comply with Section 1373.

Jurisdictions that were found to have possible violations of 8 U.S.C. 1373 will have until December 8, 2017 to demonstrate that the interpretation and application of their laws, policies, or practices comply with the statute.

The 29 jurisdictions warned on Wednesday were:

  • Albany, New York; 
  • Berkeley, California; 
  • Bernalillo County, New Mexico; 
  • Burlington, Vermont; 
  • Contra Costa County, California; 
  • the city and county of Denver, Colorado; 
  • Fremont, California; 
  • Jackson, Mississippi; 
  • King County, Washington; 
  • Lawrence, Massachusetts; 
  • Los Angeles; 
  • Louisville metro, Kentucky; 
  • Middlesex, New Jersey; 
  • Monterey County, California; 
  • Multnomah County, Oregon; 
  • Newark, New Jersey; 
  • Riverside County, California; 
  • Sacramento County, California; 
  • the city and county of San Francisco; 
  • Santa Ana, California; 
  • Santa Clara County, California; 
  • Seattle; 
  • Sonoma County, California; 
  • Washington DC; 
  • Watsonville, California; 
  • West Palm Beach, Florida; 
  • Illinois; 
  • Oregon; 
  • Vermont.

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