Published: Tue, August 08, 2017
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Chicago sues Justice Department over sanctuary cities threat

Chicago sues Justice Department over sanctuary cities threat

Chicago, IL, will sue the Justice Department over its continued threats to defund sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with its demands, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Sunday.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, said the federal policies force the nation's third largest city to choose between its constitutional rights and funding for law enforcement.

"These new conditions. fly in the face of longstanding city policy that promotes cooperation between local law enforcement and immigrant communities", the 46-page lawsuit read.

"Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate", Emanuel, a Democrat, said at a news conference. Emanuel made it emphatically clear that he will not allow Sessions or other officials of the Trump Administration to violate citizens' "fundamental rights".

More than a dozen cities across the country have enacted legislation or drafted policies instructing local police not to question people about their immigration status, and not to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement if someone is found to be in the country illegally.

"Our job is to investigate crime", Chicago Police Dept. "We are asking the court to ensure that we are not forced to either forego critical grant funds or agree to new conditions, which violate the Constitution and our Welcoming City ordinance". The president's executive order contained "broad and threatening language" that "impermissibly" threatened cities like Chicago determined to protect undocumented immigrants with the loss of all federal grants, the judge ruled.

However, Emanuel said the conditions placed on applications for the Byrne Grant - due September 5 - amount to a "camel's nose under the tent", and if successful would certainly lead to additional punitive actions against sanctuary cities like Chicago.

"It's especially tragic that the mayor is less concerned with that staggering figure than he is spending time and taxpayer money protecting criminal aliens and putting Chicago's law enforcement at greater risk", said department spokesman Ian D. Prior in an email. Chicago alone was slated to receive $3.2m from the grant program this year to purchase new police equipment. The money would mostly be used to buy police vehicles. Emanuel's message is viewed as politically advantageous in an overwhelmingly Democratic city with a minimal number of Trump supporters and a significant Latino population.

According to the Sacramento Bee, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is likely to file suit against the Justice Department, also because of the Department's mishandling of the Byrne Grants Program funds.

"We need people to work with our officers and trust our officers", Emanuel said.

"In 2016, more Chicagoans were murdered than in New York City and Los Angeles combined", Devin O'Malley, the spokesman, said in an email. Additionally, many of these agencies have kept ICE agents from entering local jails to interview suspects.

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