The Justice Department is threatening twenty-three cities with subpoenas if they do not comply with a previous order asking for proof that they are not violating federal immigration law. The Justice Department is asking the localities to provide the requested information in a “timely manner,” it said Wednesday.
The federal law in question, Section 1373, says that state and local governments cannot prevent their employees from communicating with federal officials about the citizenship or immigration status of an individual. Many cities across the country refuse to provide that information to the federal government. They are known as “sanctuary cities.”
Letters were sent last year from the Justice Department to, among other localities, California, New York City and Chicago, demanding proof they are not violating the law. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has threatened to pull federal grants from cities that don’t comply. Several lawsuits have been filed over the issue and multiple federal courts have blocked the Trump administration from withholding those funds. The lawsuits are still being litigated.
The DOJ sent the letters last April and November to thirty-eight jurisdictions asking for proof they were not violating Section 1373. The twenty-three that received the order today either did not respond or did not provide a sufficient response.
“I continue to urge all jurisdictions under review to reconsider policies that place the safety of their communities and their residents at risk. Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law. We have seen too many examples of the threat to public safety represented by jurisdictions that actively thwart the federal government’s immigration enforcement — enough is enough,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said today.
Some mayors, like Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans and Bill de Blasio of New York, declined invitations to the White House today to discuss infrastructure plans because of the DOJ’s actions.
“Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s decision to threaten mayors and demonize immigrants yet again – and use cities as political props in the process – has made this meeting untenable,” Landrieu said in a press release.