Justice Dept threatens sanctuary cities in immigration fight

A woman shouts slogans and holds a placard during a rally in downtown against President Donald Trump's ICE and deportation programs in San Francisco

The sanctuary cities were a reaction to Obama-era policies that enlisted local police in immigration enforcement.

"New York City continues to see gang murder after gang murder, the predictable effect of the city's "soft on crime" stance", the DOJ charged in a press release announcing the action.

The jurisdictions until June 30 to provide evidence to the federal government that they are not violating any laws.

"Contrary to their alternative facts, NY is the safest big city in the country, with crime at record lows in large part because we have policies in place to encourage cooperation between NYPD and immigrant communities", City Hall spokesman Seth Stein said in a statement.

"It has become abundantly clear that Attorney General Sessions and the Trump administration are basing their law enforcement policies on principles of white supremacy - not American values", he said.

The department sent letters Friday to places its inspector general previously identified as having rules limiting the information that can be provided to federal immigration authorities.

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The department sent a letter to eight cities and one county warning they could lose federal funds if they continue to limit communication with the Department of Homeland Security about "information regarding the immigration or citizenship status", the Washington Examiner reported. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the elected head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said the city and county were wrongly labeled sanctuary cities.

"M$3 any of these jurisdictions are also crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime".

The leader of California's state Senate rejects a Justice Department letter that says to comply with federal immigration enforcement or risk losing grant money.

President Donald Trump has vowed to cut off federal funds to dozens of state and local governments that do not fully cooperate with federal immigration agents, arguing that they are putting public safety at risk when they do not hand over illegal immigrants suspected of crime for possible deportation. The letter warned that federal grant money could be withheld if the city can't document cooperation.

A spokesman for Miami-Dade County in Florida says the county never claimed to be a sanctuary city -that's the name for a jurisdiction that refuses to comply with federal immigration authorities. It was reviewing the Justice Department's letter.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has warned that the administration will punish communities that refuse to cooperate with efforts to find and deport immigrants in the country illegally.

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