The Justice Department took its first steps on Friday to strip Chicago and Cook County of some crime fighting grants as part of a drive to deny federal money to so-called “sanctuary cities” shielding illegal immigrants.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle were two of nine local officials sent a Justice Department letter setting a June 30 deadline to declare compliance or risk losing Justice Department Byrne Grants.
Besides Chicago and Cook County, letters were sent to officials in New York City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Miami, Milwaukee, and California.
That law states that the officials must attest that a “Federal, State or local government entity or official 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.”
In a press release the Justice Department said, “many of these jurisdictions are also crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime. 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. 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.
“The letters remind the recipient jurisdictions that, as a condition for receiving certain financial year 2016 funding from the Department of Justice, each of these jurisdictions agreed to provide documentation and an opinion from legal counsel validating that they are in compliance with Section 1373. The Department of Justice expects each of these jurisdictions to comply with this grant condition and to submit all documentation to the Office of Justice Programs by June 30, 2017, the deadline imposed by the grant agreement.”