Justice Department latest sanctuary city move on Chicago, Cook County

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The U.S. Department of Justice says it's giving local officials a "last chance" to drop so-called "sanctuary city" policies and get into compliance with federal lawor risklosing grant money moving forward.

A letter from the Justice Department released Thursday said officials believe NY is violating a law requiring cooperation on immigration enforcement - one of four cities put on notice they were out of compliance.

A law enforcement grant received by the city requires compliance with the law, the letter states.

Offending cities and states stand to lose money from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (or JAG grant), which provided Philadelphia with $1.6 million in 2016 to spend on police overtime, training, equipment, courtroom technology and other aspects of the criminal justice system.

Federal and local officials have battled over sanctuary city protections not only as a matter of law, but one of finance: The Trump administration has threatened to deny uncooperative cities funding from Washington if they don't comply.

He has no legal authority to take away all funds, but DOJ has pursued a more narrow path, looking to strip the cities of certain law enforcement grants.

Seth Stein, a spokesman for New York City, said the mayor's office was "prepared to fight to protect critical public safety funding".

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New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia join Chicago and Cook County in remaining out of compliance, the Justice Department said.

Sessions, in a statement accompanying the warnings, said "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".

Proponents of "sanctuary cities", like Kenney, say they create trust between police and immigrants, who otherwise might be afraid to report crimes.

NY refuses requests by the feds, known as detainers, to hold undocumented immigrants arrested for most crimes and turn them over for possible deportation.

District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber, who was appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan, said "the harm to the city's relationship with the immigrant community if it should accede to the conditions is irreparable" and blocked the Trump administration's effort.

Both the city and the county have identical ordinances on the books preventing local law enforcement from "expend (ing) their time responding to (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) inquiries or communicating with ICE regarding" individuals' incarceration status or release dates while on duty.

The Justice Department said it had found no evidence that four other jurisdictions - Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Clark County, Nevada, Miami-Dade County, Florida and the State of CT - were in violation of the statue, known as Section 1373.

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