Justice Dept. tells 9 sanctuary cities grant money at risk

In a statement, the Justice Department singled out Chicago and New York as two cities that are "crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime", even though New York City is experiencing its lowest crime levels in decades and experts say Chicago's recent spike in violent crime has little to do with illegal immigration.

The Justice Department statement blasted NY for gang murders there, labeling them "the predictable effect of the city's "soft on crime" stance".

"Failure to comply with this condition could result in the withholding of grant funds, suspension or termination of the grant, ineligibility for future [Justice Department] grants or subgrants, or other actions, as appropriate", Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan Hanson said in letters to the cities.

At stake is roughly $29 million in federal law-enforcement aid under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, which helps local governments pay for everything from forensics labs to drug courts.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon says the Trump administration is basing its policies on "principles of white supremacy" and not American values.

Letters were also sent to officials in Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Miami, Clark County, Nev.; Milwaukee County, Wis., Cook County, Ill., and the state of California.

The mayor said the Trump administration's grandstanding is out of touch with reality.

Justice Department records show New Orleans received almost $266,000 in grant money through the program in fiscal 2016.

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Mayor Mitch Landrieu's executive counsel and director of federal relations said the city reviewed a letter Friday from the Justice Department. To argue otherwise, as the U.S. Justice Department has done, "demonstrates a willful disregard of the facts", O'Neill said.

"We don't think there's a problem", he said.

"People are scared, and because of that, they're less willing to report crime", Butterworth added. The Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office, for example, has a policy to decline all requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to keep a suspected deportable immigrant in its custody long enough for immigration authorities to arrest the person unless that person is charged with certain violent crimes, according to the report.

Other places also insisted they were in compliance.

"We did not become the safest big city in America by becoming 'soft on crime, ' a visibly irritated DeBlasio said".

Police operate the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, where Lombardo said four jail guards are assigned to notify ICE when unsafe criminals are identified during booking.

"Milwaukee County has its challenges but they are not caused by illegal immigration".

A Justice Department statement accompanying the letters also claimed that illegal immigration into the USA has served to increase crime these cities. "My far greater concern is the proactive dissemination of misinformation, fear, and intolerance".

  • Stacy Houston