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An inspector general’s memo in May called them out and they all responded.
All 10 jurisdictions singled out by the U.S. Department of Justice as potential “sanctuaries” for undocumented immigrants in a May inspector general memo supplied refutations, which the agency on Thursday said it’s reviewing.
At issue are possible violations of 8 U.S.C. 1373, a federal statute prohibiting states and localities from stopping their employees from relaying information about undocumented immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
President Trump’s Justice Department has attempted to argue jurisdictions declining to honor federal detainer requests for undocumented suspects in law enforcement custody are violators, despite their concern holding anyone longer than legally required without a warrant opens them up to Fourth Amendment litigation.
“It is not enough to assert compliance, the jurisdictions must actually be in compliance,” said U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement. "Sanctuary cities put the lives and well-being of their residents at risk by shielding criminal illegal aliens from federal immigration authorities. These policies give sanctuary to criminals, not to law-abiding Americans.”
State and local officials point out there’s a due process problem with such a claim in that many of those detained have not been convicted of a crime. Some jurisdictions skirt the statute by barring their employees from inquiring as to a person’s immigration status, though police are generally excluded.
The sample jurisdictions listed in DOJ’s memo are: Connecticut; California; New Orleans; New York City; Philadelphia; Cook County, Illinois; Chicago; Miami-Dade County, Florida; Milwaukee County, Wisconsin; and Clark County, Nevada.
Since the memo’s release, the Trump administration has attempted to broaden its limited legal definition of a sanctuary city by burying changes in the 1,284-page appendix of the president’s budget proposal. A “sanctuary” would become any jurisdiction that fails to detain suspects for 48 hours upon request so ICE can investigate their immigration status, and the departments of Justice and Homeland Security could subsequently deny them law enforcement grant funding.
Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington D.C.