Feds: District sanc­tu­ary city com­pli­ant

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY STEPHEN DINAN

The District of Columbia proudly pro­claims its sanc­tu­ary city sta­tus, but the fed­eral gov­ern­ment said this week that Wash­ing­ton’s poli­cies are ac­tu­ally in com­pli­ance with fed­eral law and the city won’t lose any grant money.

Jus­tice De­part­ment of­fi­cials had de­manded D.C. de­fend its poli­cies, but af­ter a re­view fed­eral of­fi­cials said the na­tion’s cap­i­tal does enough to co­op­er­ate with de­por­ta­tion of­fi­cers to put it right with the law.

“We found no ev­i­dence that Wash­ing­ton, D.C., is cur­rently out of com­pli­ance,” Jon Adler, di­rec­tor of the Bureau of Jus­tice As­sis­tance, wrote in a let­ter to the city. The let­ter was dated Thurs­day, but re­leased Fri­day.

While Wash­ing­ton got good news, other sanc­tu­ary ju­ris­dic­tions weren’t so for­tu­nate.

Mr. Adler warned Seat­tle and the state of Ver­mont that their poli­cies may con­flict with fed­eral law. And he is­sued a new warn­ing to Oak­land Mayor Libby Schaaf, de­mand­ing she jus­tify her city’s be­hav­ior.

Ms. Schaaf got into a tus­sle with fed­eral of­fi­cials in late Fe­bru­ary af­ter she warned il­le­gal im­mi­grants of an im­pend­ing en­force­ment sweep tar­get­ing hun­dreds of fugi­tives.

“When cities and states en­act poli­cies that thwart the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s abil­ity to en­force fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion law, they choose to place the pro­tec­tion of crim­i­nal aliens over the safety of their com­mu­ni­ties,” At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions in a state­ment an­nounc­ing the ac­tions Fri­day.

Sec­tion 1373 of Ti­tle VII of fed­eral law says states and lo­cal­i­ties can’t pro­hibit shar­ing of cit­i­zen­ship sta­tus or other im­mi­gra­tion in­for­ma­tion with fed­eral of­fi­cials.

Ju­ris­dic­tions that run afoul of 1373 are in dan­ger of los­ing fed­eral grant money.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion sent our warn­ing letters to a num­ber of ju­ris­dic­tions last year and de­manded more in­for­ma­tion from them. Most ju­ris­dic­tions ap­pear to be safe, how­ever.

The District has sev­eral sanc­tu­ary poli­cies. One is a 2011 mayor’s or­der telling po­lice not to in­quire about im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus and not to report mi­grants to fed­eral of­fi­cials un­less they’re tar­gets of a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion. An­other is a 2012 or­di­nance telling po­lice to use dis­cre­tion in de­cid­ing whether to de­tain some­one at the re­quest of im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties.

The Jus­tice De­part­ment didn’t de­tail its think­ing on why that pol­icy doesn’t con­flict with Sec­tion 1373.

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