Justice Department Threatens New York, Other Sanctuary Cities, Over Immigration Enforcement

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon says the Trump administration is basing its policies on "principles of white supremacy" and not American values.

The Justice Department is cracking down on so-called "sanctuary cities, " threatening them with loss of funding if they do not cooperate with immigration authorities.

In a statement accompanying the letters to sanctuary cities, the Justice Department said "many of these jurisdictions are also crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime".

Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions engaged in a war of words on Friday over a Department of Justice statement accusing the city of being "soft on crime".

In response to the press release sent by the DOJ, Chris Abele said "This is language that encourages people to mistakenly think and conflate immigration with crime".

The Justice Department statement blasted NY for gang murders there, labeling them "the predictable outcome of the city's "soft on crime" stance". But in the event local law enforcement officers actually do know the immigration status of a citizen, the city or county can't stop him from communicating that information to the feds.

Even as the Justice Department on Friday advised eight local governments and the state of California that they were at risk of losing federal dollars if they don't cooperate, several cities had already directed their lobbyists to oppose such efforts.

Chicago; Philadelphia; Clark County, Nevada; New Orleans; Miami Dade County, Florida, and Milwaukee County, Wisconsin received the department's warnings.

The department's statement did not, however, offer any evidence to support a correlation between illegal immigration and increased violence in sanctuary cities.

"I'm puzzled why Milwaukee is on their radar for this issue, when we know that nearly everybody that is arrested in Milwaukee County is brought to the sheriff's department", said Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.

Not on the list was San Francisco, whose Sanctuary City policy has been blamed for the 2015 death of Kathryn Steinle, at the hands of an illegal immigrant.

"The Executive Order makes clear that the federal government would use its discretion and that they would be cautious about cutting law enforcement funding", the city says in a fact sheet on immigration and sanctuary cities.

According to the Justice Department, the amount of grants ranged from Las Vegas, which received $11,537 to California, which received $10.4 million split among 128 jurisdictions. "And our view is that we do share information", Tulante said during a PICA meeting in March. CNBC reached out to the Justice Department for copies of the letters but didn't immediately hear back. Their policies, they say, are meant to maintain trust between law enforcement and communities by not complicating their work with the duties of federal immigration officers.

  • Leroy Wright