Feds tell New Orleans it's not a sanctuary city, says mayor

Feds tell New Orleans it's not a sanctuary city, says mayor

Feds tell New Orleans it's not a sanctuary city, says mayor

The Department of Justice on Thursday singled out four cities and a major county for allegedly failing to comply with a key federal immigration law, putting their eligibility to receive certain federal grants in jeopardy.

A letter from the Justice Department released Thursday said officials believe NY is violating a law requiring cooperation on immigration enforcement. It is giving those jurisdictions until October 27 to provide evidence demonstrating compliance. The city's lawsuit is over whether the Justice Department has the power to withhold Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants from governments that don't cooperate with immigration agents in trying to identify and possibly deport people in the US illegally.

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. Though this rule is aimed at barring questions about immigrants' legal status, DOJ says it could be interpreted to bar NYPD members from requesting immigration info from federal immigration officers, which would be illegal.

NBC10 will livestream a press conference with Mayor Jim Kenney at 4:30 p.m.

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The DOJ assessment found an executive order signed by Kenney on his inauguration day and a 16-year-old police memorandum signed by former Police Commissioner John Timoney violate the federal statute. If implemented, the policies would also ban states from receiving grants provided by the DOJ and Homeland Security if they are found to be "sanctuary cities".

The president cities deemed "sanctuary cities" by the Justice Department would lose law enforcement grants.

Milwaukee County and the State of CT, which did not receive letters in the initial review, were also found to be compliant.

"We urge jurisdictions to not only comply with Section 1373 but to establish sensible and effective partnerships to properly process criminal aliens", he added. It states that Philly police will cooperate with federal authorities as they investigate immigrants suspected of criminal activities but will not transmit the immigration status of any victims of crimes.

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The city has said its policies are legal, and vowed to sue if money is actually taken away.

If the government finds the cities and county are violating the statute that calls for information sharing with federal immigration officials, it says it could decide to cut federal funds for law enforcement. But his office did not immediately comment on the letter.

In August, Kenney announced a lawsuit against Sessions, alleging that new JAG funding requirements that force cities to abandon "sanctuary city" policies are unlawful.

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