WEST PALM BEACH, FL – Last month, the Department of Justice issued letters to 29 jurisdictions across the country, including West Palm Beach, threatening to withhold federal law enforcement grant money over these localities’ supposed non-compliance with a federal law that prohibits policies that restrict the sharing of “information regarding . . . citizenship or immigration status.” The letter established a deadline of December 8 for these 29 localities to demonstrate their compliance with the law, 8 USC 1373.
The following is a statement from Amien Kacou, staff attorney at the ACLU of Florida:
“In advance of the arbitrary December 8 deadline, West Palm Beach and other jurisdictions that prioritize civil rights and safe and smart immigration policies should reject this latest attempt by the Trump Administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to accomplish through threats and coercion what they cannot do through the courts.
“While the Administration claims that their threats against West Palm Beach and other jurisdictions are driven by public safety concerns, we know that the opposite is true. So-called sanctuary jurisdictions have lower rates of crime than non-sanctuary jurisdictions. Instead, the Administration is motivated by its overriding agenda to detain and deport as many immigrants as possible, while trampling on Americans’ civil rights in the process.
“But the law is clear: as courts in California, Chicago, and Philadelphia have recognized, President Trump and AG Sessions cannot force state and local governments to abandon their ongoing responsibilities to the deportation agenda of this Administration.
“Safe and smart local pro-immigrant policies protect all people, including non-citizens, while maintaining the rule of law and upholding the Constitution. West Palm Beach should reject the latest threats by the Trump Administration, and set itself apart from voices in other jurisdictions, like Boynton Beach, that have recently failed to affirm their commitment to protecting the rights of all their residents on this issue. We encourage other jurisdictions, like Miami Beach, to seize this opportunity to stand on the side of the law and their local community.”