JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Department of Justice wants the City of Jackson to turn over evidence that they’re complying with federal immigration laws.
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba says they have nothing to hide.
Jackson is just one of 22 other jurisdictions that are facing added pressure from the DOJ.
The DOJ believes that a Jackson ordinance could be making it a sanctuary city.
Mayor Lumumba is defending the ordinance as an anti-racial profiling ordinance.
The ordinance says officers are not to ask about a person’s immigration status unless they are a suspect or witness, or have been arrested or subpoenaed.
However, Mayor Lumumba said in a news conference today, the ordinance is to protect people who wouldn’t normally come forward about a crime.
“People have suffered. People are being robbed. People are being raped. And they are not coming forward because they’re afraid of how their undocumented status will affect them,” the mayor said.
The DOJ sent a letter about the ordinance in November. They requested that the city respond.
But Mayor Lumumba says they don’t have anything to hand over, “A part of our investigations, a part of our stops is to not inquire about the documented status of individuals. And if we don’t inquire about it, then we don’t have information to provide. Therefore we are in accordance with the law.”
The mayor, nor the interim chief of police could say whether or not there have been cases where a suspect was discovered to be undocumented after arrest.
“It is not the responsibility of the City of Jackson to round up undocumented citizens,” Lumumba stated.
The end of the letter says the DOJ can seek return of grant money if they find the city to be in violation. Lumumba says they have not formally received any threat to lose money.
This ordinance was co-written by the late Chokwe Lumumba in 2010. The current mayor says there are no plans to change it.