The Justice Department said Thursday that five U.S. jurisdictions have one "last chance" to prove over the next two weeks they are in compliance with federal immigration law.
The Department of Justice had previously told nine jurisdictions to come into compliance with federal law that requires them to communicate with federal officials about on immigration matters.
According to the Justice Department, Chicago, Ill., Cook County, Ill., New Orleans, New York City and Philadelphia still have "laws, policies or practices" that violate the federal statute, 8 USC § 1373. That law prohibits local and state governments from enacting laws or policies that limit communication with Immigration and Customs Enforcement Customs and Border Protection about "information regarding the immigration or citizenship status."
The department's statement cast the note as a "last chance" for these jurisdictions.
The Justice Department said it recently told Milwaukee County in Wisconsin and the state of Connecticut it found them to be in compliance, and that earlier in the year, Clark County, Nev., and Miami-Dade County, Fla., were notified as in compliance.
In a statement Thursday, Sessions said: "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."
The Justice Department did not say what would happen if the cities do not prove compliance by Oct. 27, but Sessions and the Trump administration have threatened to withhold Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants from uncooperative jurisdictions.
However, a federal judge in September blocked the Justice Department from being able to withhold federal grant funds that do not prove compliance. In a 41-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber in Illinois ruled in favor of the city of Chicago in its request for a preliminary injunction against Session's conditions for the federal grants — which the Justice Department appealed.
Those conditions, announced in July, came on the heels of an April executive order by President Trump that also sought to withhold unspecified funding from so-called sanctuary jurisdictions. That order was also blocked by a federal judge in April.