WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Justice Department warning nine communities to prove they are complying with an immigration law or risk coveted law enforcement grant money (all times EDT):
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says local police departments should work with federal authorities on deporting immigrants before they are released from jail and prison.
Kelly says those that refuse face the alternative of having immigration agents look for targets in neighborhoods and courthouses.
He spoke alongside Attorney General Jeff Sessions in San Diego at the end of a two-day tour of the U.S. border with Mexico. Sessions appealed to local governments to help federal efforts to deport criminals.
Kelly says immigration authorities would ideally pick up immigrants in jails and prisons. But if local authorities won’t help, he says, immigration agents will need to look wherever they can, including neighborhoods.
Las Vegas and Clark County, Nevada, say they’re wrongly included on a list of jurisdictions the Trump administration says refuse to comply with federal efforts to find and deport immigrants.
Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Friday that neither the city nor the county has any law directing Las Vegas police not to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Lombardo says the Clark County jail assigns guards to notify ICE about dangerous immigrant criminals during booking. The federal agency then has 48 hours to take custody.
County officials say reports about noncompliance appear to date to concerns expressed by the former sheriff in July 2014 about infringing on constitutional search and seizure rights.
The metropolitan police department could lose $975,000 in federal grants if the Justice Department decides it isn’t cooperating.
A spokeswoman for Philadelphia’s mayor says she believes the city is in compliance with federal law on sharing immigration information with federal authorities.
Lauren Hitt, spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Kenney, says she does not believe the city’s grant funding will be threatened. She made the comments after the Justice Department sent letters Friday to Philadelphia and other jurisdictions warning them to comply with immigration enforcement of risk losing grant money.
Hitt pointed out that Philadelphia’s crime rate is at a 40-year low. She declined to speculate as to why Philadelphia was among the cities singled out by the Justice Department.
New York City’s mayor says the Justice Department’s claims about its violence are “out of touch with reality.”
The department sent the city a letter warning it to comply with federal immigration enforcement of risk losing grant money. It said in a news release that New York City’s gang murders are “the predictable consequence of the city’s ‘soft on crime’ stance.”
Mayor’s spokesman Seth Stein calls that “alternative facts.”
He says the Trump administration’s grandstanding is out of touch with reality. He says it is safe, thanks to policies that encourage cooperation between police and immigrant communities.
Through April 16 the city had seen 74 killings in 2017, according to the police department, which would put it on pace to have the fewest number of murders since it began keeping accurate records on homicides.
Chicago-area officials are dismissing a Justice Department letter ordering it to comply with federal immigration enforcement or risk losing grant money.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says “neither the facts nor the law” are on the department’s side.
Emanuel, a White House chief of staff in the Obama administration, has beefed up the city’s efforts to protect immigrants living in the country illegally, including establishing a legal fund with taxpayer money to help those facing deportation. Chicago has been a sanctuary city since the 1980s.
Both the city and county support legal efforts challenging Trump’s executive order on sanctuary cities.
Frank Shuftan, a spokesman for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, says the county “complies with all applicable federal laws.”
He rejected the Trump administration’s statements linking crime and illegal immigration.
The leader of California’s state Senate rejects a Justice Department letter that says to comply with federal immigration enforcement or risk losing grant money.
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 Los Angeles Democrat says the administration’s targeting of diverse cities and states goes beyond constitutional norms and will continue to be challenged.
De Leon has been an outspoken critic of the administration’s immigration crackdown.
The Trump administration sent letters to nine jurisdictions in its conflict with sanctuary cities, communities that refuse to comply with federal immigration authorities.
A spokesman for Miami-Dade County in Florida says the county never claimed to be a sanctuary city –that’s the name for a jurisdiction that refuses to comply with federal immigration authorities.
Miami-Dade is one of several locales that got warnings Friday from the Justice Department. The department says it will withhold important grant money unless the county follows a federal immigration law.
Spokesman Mike Hernandez says the policy in question was reversed in February, and the Justice Department will be notified.
February is when county commissioners approved a resolution saying the corrections department will honor all so-called detainers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That means it will hold people for an extra 48 hours, long enough to be arrested by immigration authorities.
A New Orleans official says the city will provide the Justice Department with proof that it is complying with federal law and cooperating with immigration authorities.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s executive counsel and director of federal relations said the city reviewed a letter Friday from the Justice Department. The letter warned that federal grant money could be withheld if the city can’t document cooperation.
Zach Butterworth says the city has no problem and drafted its policies in consultation with federal immigration and homeland security officials.
Butterworth also says New Orleans police have no means or authority to enforce immigration laws or hold someone suspected of violating them. He noted that the law referenced in the Justice Department’s letter was on the books before President Donald Trump took office.
Justice Department records show New Orleans received nearly $266,000 in grant money through the program in fiscal 2016.
The Trump administration has intensified threats to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration authorities. The Justice Department sent letters Friday to nine jurisdictions warning it would withhold coveted law enforcement grant money unless they document cooperation.
The letters went to officials in California and in major cities including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans — all places the Justice Department’s inspector general has identified as limiting the information local law enforcement can provide to federal immigration authorities about those in their custody.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has warned the administration will punish communities that won’t cooperate with efforts to find and deport immigrants in the U.S. illegally. money.
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