WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Thursday let Connecticut off the hook in the ongoing sanctuary-city battle, saying the state is in fact cooperating with federal law enforcement on criminal suspects and convicts who are undocumented.
Connecticut and Milwaukee County, Wis., received Justice Department notification of compliance, while New York City, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Chicago and surrounding Cook County, Ill., were told they were not.
“I’m unsurprised that Connecticut was ruled in compliance,’’ said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., “State and local officials, police and employees in Connecticut have declined to participate in mass roundups or draconian interrogation of every person stopped at a red light. But they have never said they would defy lawful requests from federal authorities.’’
In Washington, Attorney General Jeff Sessions congratulated Connecticut and Milwaukee County for “their commitment to complying with (federal law), and I urge all jurisdictions found to be out of compliance in this preliminary review to reconsider their policies that undermine the safety of their residents.’’
As part of Trump’s fulfillment of a campaign pledge to crack down on illegal immigration, the administration conditioned federal law-enforcement aid on jurisdictions abandoning sanctuary status.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, local activists and leaders of the state’s sanctuary cities including New Haven resisted, drawing a line between hardened criminals subject to deportation and law-abiding immigrants who lack legal status.
The state has staked out a reputation for welcoming immigrants, legal or not. In 2013 approved the TRUST Act, which set in place guidelines for compliance with federal immigration law in response to then President Barack Obama’s “Secure Communities’’ program that was upping deportations of undocumented immigrants.
State officials called the Justice Department announcement Thursday a win for…