West Palm Beach promised Tuesday to allow its police to share information with federal deportation officers, ending a legal battle that had left the Florida municipality in danger of being labeled a sanctuary city.
The city’s lawyer wrote a memo to all employees assuring them they can share anything they have with Homeland Security, “including information regarding citizenship and immigration status.”
After the memo was sent, the federal Justice Department said it was satisfied West Palm Beach is in compliance with federal laws.
It’s the latest move in an ongoing battle between the Trump administration and more than 20 jurisdictions that have policies the government says may illegally prevent federal officers and agents from carrying out deportations of illegal immigrants.
Beginning under President Obama, the Justice Department had warned some communities they could lose funding if they broke what’s known as Section 1373, which requires information sharing.
The Trump administration put more force behind that warning, sending letters demanding nearly two dozen jurisdictions prove they don’t hinder the sharing process.
One of those letters went to West Palm Beach, which last year adopted a resolution prohibiting city officials from “disclosing someone’s citizenship or immigration status.”
After a back-and-forth, West Palm Beach sued to try to block any effort to strip its funding.
Tuesday’s settlement should end that lawsuit.
“All personnel are reminded that you may share — and it is consistent with City Resolution 112-17 and federal law to share — with federal authorities, including the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, any and all information, including information regarding citizenship and immigration status, to which you have access or knowledge as a result of the performance of your job duties for the City of West Palm Beach, regarding any individual,” City Attorney Kimberly L. Rothenburg said in new notice to employees.
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