Justice Dept. tells 9 sanctuary cities grant money at risk

The grants at stake provide federal funding for a host of functions in the criminal-justice system - including policing, victim-and-witness initiatives, crime prevention, drug-treatment programs and technology improvements.

The report also recommended that the department consider issuing guidance to grant recipients, require certification that they are complying with the federal law, consult with ICE and other law enforcement agencies to gauge whether the cities were sharing immigration information, and make sure that grant recipients "clearly communicate" to employees that they "cannot be prohibited or restricted from sending citizenship or immigration status information to ICE".

The grants under threat-which amounted to roughly $24.5 million for Chicago a year ago, according to the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, -go in most part to law enforcement efforts. She declined to speculate as to why Philadelphia was among the cities singled out by the Justice Department.

The Justice Department said in a press release that numerous jurisdictions were "crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime".

Mayor's spokesman Seth Stein calls that "alternative facts".

"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".

Through April 16 the city had seen 74 killings in 2017, according to the police department, which would put it on pace to have the fewest number of murders since it began keeping accurate records on homicides.

The grants in question are based on population and support an array of programs, technology and equipment for local law enforcement agencies, which can use the money at their discretion.

"Neither the facts, nor the law are on their side", the mayor said.

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Emanuel, a White House chief of staff in the Obama administration, has beefed up the city's efforts to protect immigrants living in the country illegally, including establishing a legal fund with taxpayer money to help those facing deportation.

Defining a "sanctuary city" is a hard task, as The Huffington Post has previously reported.

Seattle, San Francisco and Santa Clara County have actually sued over the matter, asking a federal judge to block Trump's executive order and stop Sessions from making good on his threat.

The administration again hinted at a line, without evidence, between undocumented immigrants and Chicago's crime rate.

The Justice Department is forcing nine communities to prove they are complying with an immigration law to continue receiving coveted law enforcement grant money.

"Their constant and systematic targeting of diverse cities and states goes beyond constitutional norms and will be challenged at every level", he said.

US President Donald Trump's administration has launched crackdown on so-called "sanctuary cities" that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Federal courts have ruled that the federal government can only cut funding to sanctuary cities if programs are directly related to immigration, including a Supreme Court ruling that funding can only be withheld if it is relevant "to the federal interest in the project".

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said that city is hardly succumbing to violence.

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