DOJ letter threatens Landrieu with termination of grant over immigration laws

NEW ORLEANS – The United States Department of Justice sent a letter to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu today threatening to withhold “grant funds” if the city couldn’t prove that it is upholding federal immigration laws.

The letters were sent to officials in Sacramento, Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Miami, Milwaukee, and New York.

A letter was also sent to Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle.

All of the jurisdictions have been identified in the past as “sanctuary cities.”

In a press release accompanying the letters, the DOJ states that “many of these jurisdictions are also crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime,” singling out Chicago and New York, the latter of which has seen a decline in violent crime over the past few years.

The letter to Landrieu specifies that the terms of a “FY 2016 Byrne JAG grant” under the Office of Justice Program requires recipients to submit documentation proving that the city is in compliance with a federal requirement governing the disclosure of immigration status.

“Failure to comply with this condition could result in the withholding of grant funds, suspension or termination of the grant, ineligibility for future OJP grants or subgrants, or other action, as appropriate,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan R. Hanson wrote in the letter.

According to a Bureau of Justice Assistance document, the City of New Orleans received an Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant for a total of $265,832 in the fiscal year 2016.

The Mayor’s Office said they will release a statement on the DOJ’s letter this afternoon.

Stay tuned to WGNO for more information.