Justice issues warning on ‘sanctuary’ policies

Justice issues warning on ‘sanctuary’ policies
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The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a warning Wednesday to 29 local and state governments about their “sanctuary” policies on undocumented workers.

The department said interference with the federal government’s quest for information of people’s immigration status was against the law and could result in a cut in federal funding

“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,” Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard Sessions Senate outlook slides for GOP Supreme Court blocks order that relaxed voting restrictions in Alabama Justice Dept. considering replacing outgoing US attorney in Brooklyn with Barr deputy: report MORE said in a statement.

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“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.”

The letters went to cities in Colorado, New Mexico, Vermont, Mississippi, Kentucky, Washington, California, Massachusetts, Florida, Oregon, New Jersey and New York, in addition to the states of Illinois, Oregon and Vermont.

DOJ said state and local governments that received funding from the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program, but violated the law, have until Dec. 8 to demonstrate how they’ve come into compliance.

A federal judge in Philadelphia ruled Wednesday that the department can’t withhold funding from Philadelphia because it refuses to cooperate with federal authorities on immigration enforcement.   

The letters reminded jurisdictions that federal funding from Justice is tied to compliance with a federal law, which prohibits state and local governments from restricting officials from receiving or sending information on an individual's immigration status to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. 

Many localities have laws that prevent police officers and government agencies from asking the immigration status of people they come in contact with.