The Justice Department is questioning whether so-called sanctuary cities responded honestly when asked whether they follow the law on sharing the citizenship status of people in their custody with federal immigration authorities, the Associated Press reports. In a strongly worded statement yesterday, the department said some of the 10 jurisdictions under scrutiny insist they are compliant with the law while still defiantly refusing to cooperate with efforts to detain and deport immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. The Justice Department said it was reviewing policies of the jurisdictions to determine whether they should lose some federal grant money for failing to prove they are adhering to federal immigration law.
The cities include New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Philadelphia, which said in its letter to the department that the city was adhering to the law even while refusing to collect information on residents’ immigration statuses. Also on the list are two states — California and Connecticut — along with Miami-Dade County, Fl., Cook County, Il., Milwaukee County, Wi., and Clark County, Nv. The locales were singled out last year by the department’s inspector general for having rules that hinder the ability of local law enforcement to communicate with federal officials about the immigration status of people they have detained. The cities disagreed with that assessment, saying their rules comport with the federal law that bars municipalities from forcing local officials to keep certain information from federal immigration authorities. The move was the latest by the Trump administration after the signing of an executive order that went after federal money going to such locations. A judge later blocked that, saying the president could not set new conditions on spending approved by Congress.