U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued the warning to officials in Cook County, Chicago and three other major cities this week, saying sanctuary laws in place within their jurisdictions may violate federal law and "undermine the safety of their residents". U.S.C. 1373 - states that a federal, state or local government entity can not restrict any government entity 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 DOJ says Chicago, Philadelphia, New Orleans and New York City fit that description.
The city of Philadelphia received a letter from the Justice Department on Thursday rejecting the city's argument that its policies toward Immigration Enforcement do not violate federal law.
"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", Sessions said in a statement. They have until October 27 to show they're in compliance.
The Justice Department says the cities are specifically violating the federal statute called 8 U.S.C. 1373.
A federal law known by the shorthand 1373 requires local police to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally for several days until investigators from Immigration and Customs Enforcement can intervene, even if the crime they're accused of is minor, or no charges are filed.
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Some cities say they will only honor detainers accompanied by criminal warrants, and that compliance with the requests is voluntary and not required under the statute.
NBC10 will livestream a press conference with Mayor Jim Kenney at 4:30 p.m.
Sessions' Justice Department made a point of noting the feds found no evidence of non-compliance with Wisconsin's Milwaukee County, along with CT.
Kenney has been an ardent supporter of Philadelphia's "sanctuary city" policies.
In April, a presidential executive order that would have cut off funds to sanctuary cities was stymied by a judge's order.
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.
"As you know, the city welcomed immigrants long before I was ever mayor", Kenney said at the time.