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Mayor Mitch Landrieu and other city officials said NOPD policies, which the Justice Department itself helped craft, already comply with federal law and that, "the NOPD will not be the federal government's deportation force".

A federal judge in Chicago on Friday denied a request by the U.S. Department of Justice to lift a national freeze on a Trump administration policy that would withhold public safety grants to so-called sanctuary cities that don't agree to tougher enforcement of U.S. immigration law.

"We will build relationships between the NOPD and all community members", Landrieu wrote. "This is not their money, this is taxpayers' money", said Kenney. "The NOPD will continue to focus on the arrest and conviction of violent criminals, regardless of their immigration status".

According to the Chicago Tribune, the letters contend that the city "violated federal immigration laws a year ago when they were awarded public safety grants".

DOJ says this appears to violate the federal law's provision that local governments may not restrict the sharing of information with federal authorities about immigration or citizenship status.

The NOPD revised its policy past year to clarify that officers aren't barred from communicating with immigration officials and to require them to follow federal law. "Pursuant to standard training procedures, all officers and employees were notified about the policy in September 2016".

"Instead of fear-mongering and false accusations, we urge you to work with mayors across the nation to tackle violent crime through smart, evidence-based policing", Landrieu said. It's the latest in an ongoing back-and-forth between President Donald Trump's administration and municipalities pegged as so-called "sanctuary cities" allegedly harboring people living in the country illegally.

There's other Justice Department grant programs that bring in millions more.

The Justice Department made the assertion in letters to Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

The Justice Department, however, apparently has dismissed the city's earlier responses. When the Justice Department included New Orleans on a preliminary list of alleged "sanctuary cities" in April, the city's leaders accused federal leaders of not "doing their homework".

The feds also take issue with a city executive order saying cops shouldn't inquire about New Yorkers' immigration status. Eddie Johnson and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, dated October 11, comes as Attorney General Jeff Sessions is appealing a September order by a federal judge - in a case filed by the city of Chicago - blocking the Trump administration's efforts to keep fiscal year 2017 grant money from sanctuary cities. Several agencies and local governments in California had sued over the order.