Chicago To Sue DOJ Over Sanctuary City Funding Threat

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and California Gov. Jerry Brown

Yet despite such pressing issues facing the city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has chose to focus on keeping Chicago's sanctuary city status safe. Administration officials say the policies undermine efforts to root out and deport violent criminals who are in the country illegally, while the cities say the close cooperation federal authorities demand undermines public trust and forces them to violate the rights of their residents.

The department specifically named Chicago and New York City as communities that are "crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime". They say Chicago police officers make no inquiries about immigration status because doing so might fracture residents' trust of the police and discourage those here illegally from reporting crimes or cooperating as witnesses, making the streets more risky. Since the grant only accounts for a small percentage of the city's budget, he can afford to lose the funding while positioning himself as a "high-profile bulwark" against the Trump administration - which could help him court more Hispanic voters.

When asked for comment about the lawsuit Monday, the Department of Justice spokesman directed The Associated Press to Sessions' previous comments, including those saying sanctuary cities threaten safety.

Following the Justice Department's move, California said it would also sue the federal government.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) criticized the lawsuit in a statement that accused Emanuel of "protecting criminal aliens and putting Chicago's law enforcement at greater risk".




Mayor Emanuel says linking the new requirements to the grant money is unconstitutional and a form of coercing cities into complying with the administration's immigration plans.

Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing back against the federal government.

In July, Sessions announced that going forward DOJ will only provide JAG grants to those that certify compliance with a federal statute that requires localities to share immigration information about individuals with the federal government, allow federal immigration access to local detention facilities, and provide the Department of Homeland Security at least 48 hours advance notice before local officials release an undocumented immigrant wanted by federal authorities.

The mayor said the city won't be "blackmailed" into changing its values as a welcoming city.

The suit, filed Monday in Chicago federal court, claims new conditions placed on public safety grants are "unauthorized and unconstitutional". The grant in question would provide the city with $3.2 million, money it mostly uses for purchasing police vehicles, radios and computers. But Emanuel said the equipment it buys is "needed" and called the effort to pull those grants "the camel's nose under the tent". Opponents argue the federal government is essentially trying to deputize local law enforcement and that everyday policing is made more hard when people are afraid to talk to the officers for fear their immigration status will be uncovered.

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