Washington, DC - The Department of Justice yesterday sent the attached letters to the City of Seattle, Washington, and the State of Vermont, demanding the production of documents that could show whether each jurisdiction is unlawfully restricting information sharing by its law enforcement officers with federal immigration authorities.
The Department of Justice previously contacted these jurisdictions and raised concerns about laws, policies, or practices that may violate 8 U.S.C. § 1373, a federal statute that promotes information sharing related to immigration enforcement and with which compliance is a condition of FY2016 and FY2017 Byrne JAG awards.
The letters also state that failure to respond, respond completely, or respond in a timely manner will be subject to a Department of Justice subpoena.
The Justice Department also sent a letter to Mayor Libby Schaaf of the City of Oakland, regarding Oakland’s laws, policies, or practices, which the Department believes may violate 8 U.S.C. 1373.
“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,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “The Justice Department will not tolerate this intentional effort to undermine public safety and the rule of law, and I continue to remind all jurisdictions to reconsider policies that put their residents in harm’s way.”
Failure to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 could result in the Justice Department seeking the return of FY2016 grants, requiring additional conditions for receipt of any FY2017 Byrne JAG funding, and/or jurisdictions being deemed ineligible to receive FY2017 Byrne JAG funding.
The Department of Justice periodically reviews the laws, policies, or practices of jurisdictions that previously certified compliance with section 1373 as a condition of their FY2016 Byrne JAG awards.
In addition to these actions, the Justice Department also notified the District of Columbia and the Louisville-Jefferson (KY) County Metro Government that there is no evidence that either jurisdiction is currently out of compliance with section 1373.