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Dade says it's following immigration law
22 April 2017, 01:48 | Sue Hudson
Dade says it's following immigration law
The Justice Department on Friday threatened to revoke certain federal grants from nine "sanctuary" jurisdictions if they fail to prove they are in compliance with federal immigration law.
The Los Angeles Democrat says the administration's targeting of diverse cities and states goes beyond constitutional norms and will continue to be challenged.
Letters were also sent to officials in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Miami, Milwaukee and Cook County, Illinois, and at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
"Failure to comply with this condition could result in the withholding of grant funds, suspension or termination of the grant, ineligibility for future [Office of Justice] grants or subgrants, or other action, as appropriate", acting Assistant Attorney General Alan R. Harten wrote in letters to local officials.
It is an extension of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' repeated threats to crack down on sanctuary communities by denying or stripping them of grant money.
He rejected the Trump administration's statements linking crime and illegal immigration.
While murders and other violence are on the rise in some major cities, most scholars have concluded that crime remains near historic lows and that immigrants commit fewer crimes than USA -born citizens.
"A federal, state or local 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 letter said.
Earlier this week, Sessions accused sanctuary cities of undermining law enforcement efforts to fight transnational street gangs.
It also took issue with a New Orleans Police Department policy that it said might hinder communication with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Justice Department records show New Orleans received almost $266,000 in grant money through the program in fiscal 2016. The Obama administration warned cities after the report's release that they could miss out on grant money if they did not comply with the law, but it never actually withheld funds. It was reviewing the Justice Department's letter.
At a news conference, O'Neill said his "blood began to boil" when he read the feds' statement criticizing his department. "To say we're soft on crime is absolutely ludicrous".
Both the city and county support legal efforts challenging Trump's executive order on sanctuary cities.
New Orleans police have no means or authority to enforce immigration laws or hold someone suspected of violating them, he said. "My far greater concern is the proactive dissemination of misinformation, fear, and intolerance", said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.
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