Mayor: Attorney General’s Memo On Sanctuary Cities Leaves Urbana In The Clear

May 31, 2017
The Urbana City Building

The Urbana City Building

Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media

A memorandum issued by the U-S Attorney General’s office outlining how it will crack down on so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ appears to leave the city of Urbana in the clear.

The Urbana City Council reaffirmed its commitment to safeguarding immigrants in the U-S illegally last December.

But Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin says the memo from Attorney General Jeff Sessions leaves the city of Urbana unaffected.

In the memo, Sessions writes that cities that refuse to share information on people’s immigration status with the federal government will be denied Justice and Homeland Security

But Marlin says the city of Urbana does not collect that information.

“We do not collect information on immigrant status, or require documentation of citizenship before we respond to calls for service,” said Marlin.

The attorney general’s memo seems to call for a more limited approach than what President Trump’s executive order on sanctuary cities suggested in January. Sessions writes that a particular section of the executive order “will be applied solely to federal grants administered by the Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland Security, and not to other sources of federal funding.”

According to Sessions, the executive order’s definition of “sanctuary jurisdiction” is also a narrow one, covering only “willful refusal” to comply with a certain section of federal law.

“I mean the executive order was pretty broad and extremely vague”, said Marlin. “This is an attempt by the attorney general to define it. And it does seem to be much more narrowly focused. But again, it’s not something that really applies to Urbana.

Marlin says the city of Urbana will honor federal court orders and arrest warrants for people without current documentation that involve criminal matters. She says that non-citizens who are simply in the U-S without proper documentation are violating federal civil law, not criminal law. 

Story source: WILL