Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan Hanson sent a letter Friday to local government officials in nine different suspected or declared sanctuary cities and counties, demanding proof of compliance with federal immigration laws.
The letter, sent to officials in Sacramento, Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, New York City, Miami Dade County, Milwaukee County and Cook County, notes that these jurisdictions receive U.S. government grant funding. If it is to be renewed, cooperation with federal immigration authorities is expected.
"I write to alert you that under the terms of your FY 2016 Byrne JAG grant, award 2016-DJ-BX-0106 from the Office of Justice Programs ("OJP"), your jurisdiction is required to submit documentation to OJP that validates that your jurisdiction is in compliance with 8 U.S.C. 1373, which states that 'a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in anyway 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.' As your grant agreement makes clear, this documentation must be accompanied by an official legal opinion from counsel that adequately supports the validation and must be submitted to OJP no later than June 30, 20107, " the letter from Hanson to Chicago Police Superintendent of Police Eddie Johnson states.
"Failure to comply with this condition could result in the withholding of grant funds, suspension or termination of the grant, ineligibility for future OJP grants or subgrants, or other action, as appropriate," the letter continues.
A press release sent with the letters, which you can read below, noted an increase in violent gang activity in Chicago, New York and California.
"The number of murders in Chicago has skyrocketed, rising more than 50 percent from the 2015 levels. New York City continues to see gang murder after gang murder, the predictable consequence of the city's 'soft on crime' stance," the release states. "And just several weeks ago in California’s Bay Area, after a raid captured 11 MS-13 members on charges including murder, extortion and drug trafficking, city officials seemed more concerned with reassuring illegal immigrants that the raid was unrelated to immigration than with warning other MS-13 members that they were next."
President Trump has repeatedly warned sanctuary cities could face funding cuts if officials refuse to comply with federal immigration laws. Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been touring different areas along the southern U.S. border with Mexico, vowing to dismantle violent drug cartels and transnational gangs like MS-13.