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Published on Friday, April 7, 2017

Attorney General guidance on immigration enforcement

The Department of Justice (DOJ) was in the news recently announcing their plan to require cities applying for DOJ grants to certify their compliance with federal law, including Section 1373 of the U.S. Code. Section 1373 prohibits localities from obstructing federal immigration enforcement, but does not require those jurisdictions to perform the duties of federal immigration agents. This DOJ action is in part a response to the executive order on sanctuary cities that is under court challenge by several cities, including San Francisco and Seattle, and issuance of a list of jurisdictions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) they believe have been uncooperative with federal immigration enforcement.

The Washington State Attorney General released a publication last week with guidance for local governments on federal immigration authority and enforcement.

The publication addresses these issues in chapters directed to local law enforcement, jails, public hospitals, libraries, schools, and employers, as well as guidance on interactions between local jurisdictions and federal authorities. The guidance also includes model language for local resolutions and policies related to local government entities and responses to federal requests for assistance with immigration enforcement.

Please note that the publication provides general information to local governments related to immigration enforcement issues and is not intended as legal advice. For specific questions and policies, cities should consult their legal counsel.