DOJ to Oregon: Comply with fed statute on immigration

29 jurisdictions in the US have until December 8 to respond

In this Feb. 9, 2017, photo provided U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE agents at a home in Atlanta, during a targeted enforcement operation aimed at immigration fugitives, re-entrants and at-large criminal aliens. The Homeland Security Department said Feb. 13, that 680 people were arrested in roundups last week targeting immigrants living illegally in the United States. (Bryan Cox/ICE via AP)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The US Department of Justice sent letters to 29 jurisdictions around the country, including Multnomah County and the State of Oregon, reminding them their sanctuary-city policies may violate a federal statute.

The 29 locations, the US DOJ said in a release, “have preliminarily been found to have laws, policies, or practices that may violate 8 U.S.C. 1373.”

That federal statute “promotes information sharing related to immigration enforcement.”

In the letters, signed by Alan Hanson, the Acting Assistant Attorney General, each locale is reminded of the funding they receive and that they need to be in compliance with this federal statute, and that a review is underway to make sure “they will comply with Section 1373” in order to receive future funding.

Below are the letters sent by the US DOJ to Multnomah County and the State of Oregon

Each locale has until December 8 to reply to the DOJ.

This letter seems to continue efforts by the DOJ to wield the power of the federal purse over cities and states who have adopted sanctuary city policies.

On October 19, a federal judge rejected the Justice Department’s efforts to have a lawsuit filed by Seattle and Portland over sanctuary city policies thrown out.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Portland, September 19, 2017 (KOIN)
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Portland, September 19, 2017 (KOIN)

The cities filed the lawsuit over the Trump administration’s threats to cut funding for jurisdictions that don’t play ball on federal immigration enforcement priorities. Those threats were previously blocked by a federal court in California, in a case brought by San Francisco and Santa Clara County.

The Justice Department asked U.S. District Judge Richard Jones to throw out the lawsuit by Seattle and Portland, but he refused in a decision that day. He called the administration’s threats “unconstitutionally coercive.”

Attorney General Sessions himself came to Portland in September. In a speech at the USCIS — US Citizenship and Immigration Services — field office in Northwest Portland, Sessions said some jurisdictions have tried to undo immigration laws through sanctuary policies, which he said undermines the “moral authority of law and undermines the safety of the jurisdictions that adopt them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report