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DOJ to Mayor Kenney: Philly's 'sanctuary' policies violate federal law

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Justice Department latest sanctuary city move on Chicago, Cook County

Cities and states with "sanctuary policies" have 15 days to provide evidence of compliance with federal immigration laws, the US Department of Justice has announced, singling out five jurisdictions including Chicago and NY.

The U.S. Department of Justice, in separate letters to Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle penned Wednesday, highlights several active policies created to shield undocumented immigrants from being unduly targeted by law enforcement entities.

One condition requires the city to give federal agents, when requested, a 48-hour heads up of the scheduled release date and time "of an alien in the jurisdiction's custody".

President Trump vowed to strip federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities, which refuse to assist with enforcement and deportation against undocumented immigrants.

In September, a federal judge in Chicago enjoined Sessions' order nationwide, blocking the directive from taking effect while the courts evaluate the case.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber last month granted Emanuel a nationwide preliminary injunction preventing the Justice Department from applying new rules to grant recipients requiring them to cooperate with immigration agents to get the money.

An additional three policies also may not be in compliance, depending on the way Philadelphia applies them.

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In August, the city of Chicago sued Sessions over its efforts to stop federal money from going to sanctuary cities through Byrne Justice Assistance Grants. It determined Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, and CT to be in compliance.

"We urge jurisdictions to not only comply with Section 1373 but to establish sensible and effective partnerships to properly process criminal aliens", he added.

The sanctuary jurisdictions say they are following the law, which says local authorities can not prevent information exchange with federal immigration agents about people's immigration status.

The executive order, signed by Kenney on January 4, 2016, directs Philadelphia police to disregard detainer requests unless they are supported by a judicial warrant and involve a person being released after conviction for a first- or second-degree violent felony.

Kenney has been an ardent supporter of Philadelphia's "sanctuary city" policies.

Section 8 U.S.C. s. 1373 says that a state "may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official 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 Department is, again, threatening to revoke a federal grant. But his office did not immediately comment on the letter.

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