State News
February 1, 2018

DOJ threatens to subpoena Burlington, other “sanctuary cities”

Last week the U.S. Department of Justice sent letters to 23 jurisdictions, demanding documents that could show whether each jurisdiction is unlawfully restricting information sharing by its law enforcement officers with federal immigration authorities.

All 23 of these jurisdictions were previously contacted by the Justice Department, when the department raised concerns about laws, policies, or practices that may violate 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1373, a federal statute that promotes information sharing related to immigration enforcement. Compliance is a condition to qualify for FY2016 and FY2017 Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants to support law enforcement resources.

The letters also state that recipient jurisdictions that fail to respond, fail to respond completely, or fail to respond in a timely manner will be subject to a Department of Justice subpoena.

Failure to comply with Section 1373 could result in the Justice Department seeking the return of FY 2016 grants and funding. Along with Burlington, Vt., other jurisdictions that received the document request included Chicago, Cook County and the state of Illinois; Albany and New York city, N.Y.; Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Francisco city and county, Fremont, Watsonville, Monterey County, Sacramento County, Sonoma County and the state of California; Bernalillo County, N. M.; Denver city and county; Jackson, Miss.; King County, Wash.; Lawrence, Mass.; Louisville Metro, Ky.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; and the state of Oregon.

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