The department said New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, and Cook County in IL along with its largest city Chicago, "have preliminarily been found" to have policies that violate the law.
"Chicago will not be blackmailed into changing our values, and we are and will remain a welcoming city", Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at a press conference announcing that suit. Chicago won a ruling over the department last month over an earlier threat to withhold public safety funding. Perhaps ironically, another major Trump supporter, Republican former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, memorably offered a dramatic defense of policies that shielded immigrants from persecution while running City Hall in the 1990s.
An additional three policies also may not be in compliance, depending on the way Philadelphia applies them.
The Department of Justice is once again threatening to cut off funding for Philadelphia if the city maintains its sanctuary status.
Milwaukee County and the State of CT, which did not receive letters in the initial review, were also found to be compliant.
The United States Justice Department singled out four cities and a county on Thursday for allegedly having so-called "sanctuary policies" that may violate a federal law that says local governments can not limit information sharing with USA immigration officials.
Two other jurisdictions that were asked to prove their compliance with the law - Milwaukee County and the state of CT - were cleared in the letters released Thursday. That order was blocked by a nationwide judicial injunction in April.
The police memo, dated May 17, 2001, is created to encourage immigrants to utilize city services without fear of reprisal.
Sanctuary jurisdictions generally opt not to cooperate with federal agents by notifying them of the immigration status of people who have been detained in connection with criminal activity.
The jurisdictions have until October 27 to provide "additional evidence" that their laws and policies do not run afoul of the statute or face the possibility of losing federal law enforcement grants.
Section 8 U.S.C. s. 1373 says that a state "may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual".
But, the process might not be as smooth for the jurisdictions facing that October 27 deadline.
Kenney has been an ardent supporter of Philadelphia's "sanctuary city" policies.
The Kenney administration received the letter Thursday and is still reviewing it, spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said.