Landrieu, Kennedy to meet with AG Jeff Sessions on New Orleans 'sanctuary city' policies

OCT 26, 2017 - 2:07 PM

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu will meet with U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions next month to discuss the dispute over whether the city is complying with federal immigration law.

Kennedy, a Republican, announced the Nov. 16 meeting in a news release Thursday.

“I appreciate the mayor’s willingness to come to Washington, D.C., in order to resolve this issue,” Kennedy said. “I was happy to facilitate this meeting, and I am confident that we can reach a solution that allows New Orleans to continue to receive vital law enforcement funding while honoring the rule of law.”

Landrieu later released a letter to Kennedy saying he would be happy to attend the meeting, as he will be in Washington, D.C., anyway. But he called for opening up the discussion to the state's full congressional delegation and discussing a broader slate of issues, including violent crime and terrorism.

In the letter, Landrieu also defended the NOPD's policies.

"My position has not changed: the New Orleans Police Department will always follow the law," Landrieu said, adding that the department's policy had been vetted by federal officials including the Department of Justice and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"I am confident that the NOPD is in full compliance with all federal laws related to sharing information about the immigration status of individuals in our community," he added.

However, Landrieu has been at odds with President Donald Trump's administration and other Republican elected officials over a New Orleans police policy that forbids officers from asking victims and witnesses about their immigration status.

That policy is required by a federal court consent decree that governs the NOPD's operations.

But it has repeatedly landed New Orleans on lists compiled by the Trump administration of municipalities that could lose federal funding for failing to assist immigration enforcement efforts, a group the administration has labeled "sanctuary cities."

Following threats to pull some federal law enforcement grants the city receives, Landrieu's administration insisted the city is not in violation of federal laws that require police departments to allow their officers to speak with immigration enforcement officials.

Landrieu has previously met with Sessions about immigration enforcement and the threats to pull funding in his capacity as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.