(Repeats to widen distribution)
By Hilary Russ
NEW YORK, March 28 Officials from so-called
sanctuary cities met in New York on Tuesday to discuss their
response to threats from the Trump administration to cut off
some funding to cities and states that fail to assist federal
authorities in arresting illegal immigrants.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened on Monday to strip
U.S. Justice Department grants from cities and other local
governments that choose to shield illegal immigrants from
deportation efforts under President Donald Trump.
His remarks were aimed at dozens of cities and other local
governments, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, that
have joined a growing "sanctuary" movement aimed at protecting
Tuesday's meeting in New York marked the second straight day
of brainstorming on the immigration issue by leaders of some of
America's biggest urban centers.
Public officials, liberal activists and academics from
around the country shared information on a host of issues.
Topics discussed included when and how to challenge requests
from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold illegal
immigrants under arrest, for separate local offenses.
Attendees came from California, Texas, Wisconsin,
Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Washington State and elsewhere.
Sanctuary cities in general offer safe harbor to illegal
immigrants and often do not use municipal funds or resources to
advance the enforcement of federal immigration laws. Sanctuary
city is not an official designation.
Federal records show the Justice Department doled out $1
billion to state governments and $430 million to nonprofits in
2016, but only $136 million directly to cities and counties.
Crime is generally lower in sanctuary counties, according to
a study presented by University of California San Diego
assistant professor Tom Wong. He said the findings echoed those
of law enforcement officials themselves, since they have found
they are more effective when they can focus on day-to-day
policing instead of immigration enforcement.
Chicago City Council member Carlos Ramirez-Rosa said that
although his city is a sanctuary jurisdiction, immigration
agents raided a home there on Monday where eight people,
including three children, were sleeping.
The agents shot and wounded Felix Torres, though he was not
the person agents were seeking, Ramirez-Rosa said.
"This guns blazing raid ... is exactly why my city should
refuse to comply with ICE, under all circumstances," he said.
(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Daniel Bases and Tom