DOJ warns Louisville its new immigration policy could violate federal law
Amid signs reading "sanctuary for all," Metro Council last month overwhelming passed what has been called a "separation ordinance."
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Amid signs reading "sanctuary for all," Metro Council last month overwhelming passed what has been called a "separation ordinance."
The ordinance takes a new LMPD policy one step further. That policy says LMPD officers will no longer help immigration and customs enforcement officers when it involves only a violation of federal immigration law. The ordinance passed by Metro Council reiterates that and says no metro government employee can ask about someone's immigration status.
"I don't think we should have this ordinance at all," Metro Councilwoman Angela Leet said.
Neither does the Department of Justice, which said a warning to the city of Louisville that the ordinance could violate federal law and thereby put it in danger of losing some $400,000 in grant money for LMPD used to fight drug addiction.
"When we start to get off the road and starting mapping our own laws that are in opposition to federal law, that enters dangerous territory," Leet said.
Mayor Greg Fischer will soon make the city's case to the federal government as to why the ordinance doesn't go against federal law. For now, Fischer's office and Democrats on Metro Council are downplaying the concerns about the ordinance.
Council Democratic caucus chair Bill Hollander issued this statement:
"Our legal advisors have assured us that it violates no federal law. We won't be bullied by President Trump and Jeff Sessions into making Louisville less safe."
And Fischer's spokesman says "It's unfortunate that a few councilmembers are overreacting to this news without all the facts."
But Leet said it could be tough convincing federal officials the city is not in violation.
"The language from both Minneapolis and St. Paul is very, very similar to the language passed in Louisville," Leet said. "And they declare themselves as a sanctuary city."
Fischer has until Dec. 8 to respond to the Department of Justice.
Copyright 2017 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.