Lawrence Ma receives DOJ letter – “sanctuary policies” might violate federal law
Justice Department Sends Letters to 29 Jurisdictions Regarding Their Compliance with 8 U.S.C. 1373
The Department of Justice today sent the attached letters to 29 jurisdictions that may have laws, policies, or practices that violate 8 U.S.C. 1373, a federal statute that promotes information sharing related to immigration enforcement.
“Jurisdictions that adopt so-called ‘sanctuary policies’ also adopt the view that the protection of criminal aliens is more important than the protection of law-abiding citizens and of the rule of law,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “I urge all jurisdictions found to be potentially out of compliance in this preliminary review to reconsider their policies that undermine the safety of their residents. We urge jurisdictions to not only comply with Section 1373, but also to establish sensible and effective partnerships to properly process criminal aliens.”
The following jurisdictions have preliminarily been found to have laws, policies, or practices that may violate 8 U.S.C. 1373:
- Albany, New York;
- Berkeley, California;
- Bernalillo County, New Mexico;
- Burlington, Vermont;
- Contra Costa County, California;
- City and County of Denver, Colorado;
- Fremont, California;
- Jackson, Mississippi;
- King County, Washington;
- Lawrence, Massachusetts;
- Los Angeles, California;
- Louisville Metro, Kentucky;
- Middlesex, New Jersey;
- Monterey County, California;
- Multnomah County, Oregon;
- Newark, New Jersey;
- Riverside County, California;
- Sacramento County, California;
- City and County of San Francisco, California;
- Santa Ana, California;
- Santa Clara County, California;
- Seattle, Washington;
- Sonoma County, California;
- Washington, District of Columbia;
- Watsonville, California;
- West Palm Beach, Florida;
- State of Illinois;
- State of Oregon; and
- State of Vermont.
The letters remind the recipient jurisdictions that, as a condition for receiving certain FY2016 funding from the Department of Justice, each of these jurisdictions agreed to comply with Section 1373.
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 raising concerns about these jurisdictions’ Section 1373 compliance during FY2016, the Justice Department asked jurisdictions to determine that they will comply with Section 1373 should they receive an FY2017 Byrne JAG award.
Jurisdictions that were found to have possible violations of 8 U.S.C. 1373 will have until December 8, 2017 to demonstrate that the interpretation and application of their laws, policies, or practices comply with the statute.
Chief of Police
City of Lawrence
200 Common Street
Lawrence, MA 01840
Dear Chief Fitzpatrick,
Your FY 2016 Byrne JAG grant award required you to comply with 8 U.S.C. § 1373.
Section 1373 compliance is an ongoing requirement that the Department of Justice monitors. The
Department of Justice is concerned that the following Lawrence laws, policies, or practices may
violate section 1373:
• Lawrence Trust Ordinance § 9.20.040. Part (b) prohibits “respond[ing] to any ICE
notification request seeking information about an individual’s incarceration status, length of
detention, home address, work address, personal information, hearing information, or
pending release.” The Department is concerned that this appears to restrict the sending of
information regarding immigration status, in violation of section 1373(a).
By December 8, 2017, please submit a response to this letter that addresses whether
Lawrence has laws, policies, or practices that violate section 1373, including those discussed above.
In addition to your compliance in FY 2016, please address whether you would comply with section
1373 throughout the award period, should you receive an FY 2017 Byrne JAG grant award. To the
extent Lawrence laws or policies contain so called “savings clauses,” please explain in your
submission the way these savings clauses are interpreted and applied, and whether these
interpretations are communicated to Lawrence officers or employees.
The Department has not made a final determination regarding Lawrence’s compliance with
section 1373. This letter does not constitute final agency action and nothing in this letter creates any
right or benefit enforceable at law against the United States.
Acting Assistant Attorney General