New Orleans makes list of cities that "limit cooperation" with federal immigration agencies

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Protesters in New Orleans march against Trump's immigration orders in January.
  • Protesters in New Orleans march against Trump's immigration orders in January.

As mandated by sweeping immigration actions in a series of executive orders from President Donald Trump, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its first weekly report listing cities and counties that "limit cooperation" with immigration authorities.

New Orleans is named in the March 20 edition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) "Declined Detainer Outcome Report" among "jurisdictions that have enacted policies which limit cooperation" with the agency — which could determine whether New Orleans receives federal funding in the future.

"All jurisdictions and their corresponding detainer ordinances listed in this document are based upon public announcements, news report statements, publicly disclosed policies, and/or information given directly to ICE personnel in the field regarding these
jurisdictions’ new level of cooperation with ICE detainers," the report says.

The report includes a list of jurisdictions with "detainers that were recorded as declined" between Jan. 28 and Feb. 3, 2017, "regardless of detainer issuance date."

ICE detainers request local law enforcement to maintain custody of people living in the country without legal permission. The report notes that as of February 2016, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) "will not honor detainer without a judicial order or criminal warrant." The report also says the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office declined a detainer issued Jan. 31.
Following Trump's order, which aims to withhold certain federal funding to so-called "sanctuary" cities the administration believes are harboring people living in the country illegally, Mayor Mitch Landrieu defended the city's response, saying "NOPD is focused on arresting those who commit violent crimes, not enforcing civil immigration laws."

"Those who commit a crime will be arrested — political theatrics have no bearing on the serious work at hand," Landrieu said.

The U.S. Department of Justice consent decree with NOPD prevents local cops from interfering with federal immigration efforts — which Landrieu says had the support of DHS officials in the policy's drafting. "This agency, which is responsible for enforcing federal immigration laws, never expressed any concern with the NOPD’s policy," Landrieu said.

DHS says it "continues to evaluate the appropriate criteria" to define what exactly "sanctuary" policies are — they aren't defined by law but imply municipalities and local law enforcement agencies that disregard federal immigration policies, or simply don't delegate federal responsibility to local cops. Trump's order hands authority for "sanctuary" definition to DHS Secretary John Kelly, "in his discretion and to the extent consistent with law."

In a lengthy Q&A on its website, DHS notes that "inclusion on the [report] will not automatically result in ineligibility for grants," which will be left to the discretion of the U.S. Attorney General and DHS. DHS also says it's "currently working to develop a process, in coordination with the Department of Justice and other interagency partners, to address this requirement" of Trump's order.

In his January statement, Landrieu said New Orleans — under the terms of Trump's order — isn't in danger of losing that funding. "Because of these rigorous reviews of the NOPD’s policy, we do not believe that President Trump’s executive order will endanger any federal funding and there will be no change in our policy," Landrieu said.

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