New Orleans joins cities asking court to stop Trump's "sanctuary" order


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On "sanctuary" cities, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry says New Orleans is "part of this problem." - CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • On "sanctuary" cities, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry says New Orleans is "part of this problem."

New Orleans is among 36 U.S. cities and counties asking a federal court judge to stop President Donald Trump's executive order threatening to halt federal funding to so-called "sanctuary" cities. Trump's order, as enforced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), targets immigrants living in the country without legal permission. DHS lists Orleans Parish among U.S. cities that "limit cooperation" with federal immigration authorities.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed on to a letter with a coalition of cities supporting San Francisco's pending lawsuit arguing against the order's constitutionality and demanding the court lift its enforcement nationwide. Cities that signed onto the letter "agree that local authorities, not distant federal officials, should be making policy judgments that affect the interests and safety needs of their local communities," according to a statement.

Landrieu has repeatedly denied New Orleans' role as a "sanctuary" city and ensured the New Orleans Police Department's (NOPD) cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “First and foremost, New Orleans is not a sanctuary city and our police department’s policy on immigration complies with federal law," Landrieu said in a statement. "The NOPD’s policy makes New Orleans safer because individuals are more likely to report crime, and victims and witnesses can testify without fear of being questioned about their immigration status. We are focused on fighting crime, and we will not move officers off the street to join President Trump’s deportation force. This Executive Order is unconstitutional, and denying critical federal funding to cities will only make us less safe.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, meanwhile, applauded U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on cutting funds to "sanctuary" cities — which the Attorney General's office and DHS have yet to clearly define — and maintains that New Orleans is hostile towards immigration enforcement. "We have an illegal immigration problem across the country and certainly in Louisiana," he said in a statement this week. "Unfortunately, New Orleans is part of this problem as the only sanctuary city in Louisiana."

Last year, Landry blamed New Orleans for a deadly bus crash when it was discovered the bus was driven by a Honduran man living in the U.S. illegally — but he lived in Jefferson Parish. Landry also defended a measure from state Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, that attempted to cut funds to "sanctuary" cities in Louisiana. The bill failed, but she's bringing it back for the 2017 legislative session.


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