Philadelphia Denies Sanctuary City Status, but Justice Department Says Otherwise

WASHINGTON TIMES — PHILADELPHIA — The city of Philadelphia insists it’s not a sanctuary for illegal immigrants, but a Justice Department report says otherwise — and now the city that just hosted the Democratic National Convention is in danger of losing millions of dollars in federal funding for breaking the law.

The Justice inspector general said the number of sanctuary cities has exploded over the past 10 years, and the overall level of police cooperation with federal immigration authorities has deteriorated.

In some situations, the federal government is paying for illegal immigrants to be kept in local prisons or jails, but then the locals refuse to turn over the detainees when agents come to deport them, the inspector general detailed in the report, made public Thursday.

Investigators looked at 10 top jurisdictions and found that each of them had laws or ordinances that blocked cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, contradicting the clear terms of federal law.

Perhaps most stunning of all was New Orleans, where the Justice Department this year pushed police to adopt a policy limiting cooperation with ICE. The Justice Department’s own watchdog said that policy likely violates federal law.

“The findings are pretty clear — these are sanctuaries and they are violating federal law,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies. “They should change their policies before more people get killed, and if they don’t, they should be debarred from DOJ grants.”

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