Council members react to Justice Department Notification that Sanctuary City Ordinance puts Federal Funds in Jeopardy

November 16, 2017
Disclaimer: This is an archived news item. Some links may have expired or were changed over time.

Louisville, KY: On Wednesday, November 15, 2017 the United States Department of Justice sent notification that Louisville Metro is potentially out of compliance with 8 U.S.C. §1373 which would jeopardize the Louisville Metro Police Department’s funding from the Byrne JAG grant as well as other future federal grants.  According to the letter this compliance concern was created with the passage of an ordinance (Ordinance 201, Series 2017) that created a new chapter  of the Louisville Metro Code of Ordinances, Section 39. The DOJ is concerned with  Section 1(C)(2) (a), 1(C)(2) (b) and 1(C)(2) (c) and believe that these provisions convey that Louisville Metro is no longer compliant with 8 U.S.C. §1373.

“This ordinance was about creating a Sanctuary City. The sponsors believed using the word separation instead of sanctuary would somehow change the minds of the Justice Department. Now we find that the actions by the Mayor and a majority of the members of the Metro Council are putting in jeopardy one of many federal grants. I hope the Mayor, Police Chief and others in his administration take this notice seriously and begin to work with members of the Metro Council to address this matter prior to passage of the Justice Departments December 8th deadline.”- Councilman Robin Engel, District 22

“When this piece of legislation was before the Metro Council it was unclear what passing it would mean to LMPD’s federal grant eligibility. Review of this legislation was limited and we were told over and over by the sponsors that its passage would not have a negative impact on our city’s ability to utilize federal resources for combating crime or addressing the opioid crisis in our community. There was never any acknowledgment that their policy carried some level of risk for our community. Yet, regardless of their intentions, we now find ourselves in the position of having to use city resources to defend the politicization of our police department by Mayor Fischer.” – Councilwoman Angela Leet, District 7

“The approximately $400,000 in federal grants in jeopardy are used to help fight drug addiction, something the Metro Council took great interest in addressing during our last budget. Louisville Metro can’t afford to lose these and other important federal funds. I urge the Mayor to address the DOJ concerns quickly and in a manner that allows the continued flow of millions in federal assistance to our community.” – Councilwoman Marilyn Parker, District 18

A copy of US Department of Justice News Release with attached documentation on matter:…;
A copy of Letters Sent to Louisville Metro as well as 28 other jurisdictions on Wednesday, November 15, 2017:
8 U.S. Code §1373.
Communication between government agencies and the
Immigration and Naturalization Service
(a) In general
Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal, State, or local law, a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.
(b) Additional authority of government entities
Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal, State, or local law, no person or agency may prohibit, or in any way restrict, a Federal, State, or local government entity from doing any of the following with respect to information regarding the immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual:
(1) Sending such information to, or requesting or receiving such information from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
(2) Maintaining such information.
(3) Exchanging such information with any other Federal, State, or local government entity.
(c) Obligation to respond to inquiries
The Immigration and Naturalization Service shall respond to an inquiry by a Federal, State, or local government agency, seeking to verify or ascertain the citizenship or immigration status of any individual within the jurisdiction of the agency for any purpose authorized by law, by providing the requested verification or status information.
( Pub. L. 104–208, div. C, title VI, §642, Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009–707 .)

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Stephen Haag, Jr.
Minority Caucus Director
Louisville Metro Council 
(502) 574-1204

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