Chicago Sues Trump Administration over Sanctuary City Plan

Chicago filed a lawsuit Monday in a move to prevent the Trump administration from enforcing new policies that would conceal money from so-called sanctuary cities that prevent U.S. immigration officials access to local prisons, Reuters reports.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, implies that the federal policies pressure the nation’s third largest city to pick between its constitutional rights and law enforcement funding.

“These new conditions also fly in the face of longstanding City policy that promotes cooperation between local law enforcement and immigrant communities,” the lawsuit stated.

The policies require local law enforcement agencies to give a 48-hour-notice to federal authorities prior to discharging anyone taken in for violating immigration laws. Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a statement Sunday, noting that the city would file a suit, which only escalated a pushback against an immigration repression introduced by Trump’s administration.

“We are bringing this legal challenge because the rhetoric, the threats from this administration embodied in these new conditions imposed on unrelated public safety grants funds are breeding a culture and climate of fear,” said Monday Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel, who serves as Emanuel’s senior legal adviser. The Department of Justice conditions apply to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants, which fund hundreds of cities. Chicago is expected to receive $3.2 million this year for purchasing equipment.

Siskel said the city will follow the initial complaint with a motion for a preliminary injunction to halt the government’s imposition of the new conditions. Chicago will request a decision from the judge before the deadline on September 5 to apply for the Byrne grant, Siskel said.

Attorney General Jeff Session made a statement Monday that Chicago officials have been openly hostile to laws designed to diminish crime and protect law enforcement. He added that more Chicagoans were murdered last year than residents of Los Angeles and New York combined, and that Chicago needed to reverse a “culture of lawlessness.”

“This administration will not simply give away grant dollars to city governments that proudly violate the rule of law and protect criminal aliens at the expense of public safety,” Sessions said in a statement.

Although not the first legal attack on the sanctuary city policies imposed by the administration, this suit is the first to oppose the DOJ over t he Byrne program. Emanuel said on Sunday that the lawsuit would prevent the administration from setting a precedent that could be used to target other funding.

Sanctuary cities provide safety for illegal immigrants by declining to use municipal resources to enforce federal immigration laws. New York and San Francisco are part of the dozens of local governments and cities in the sanctuary movement. “Sanctuary city” is not an official designation.

The lawsuit came nearly two weeks after Sessions noted the Department of Justice would bar cities from the Byrne program unless they allowed immigration authorities unlimited access to local prisons and give the 48-hour notice prior to releasing the immigrants.

Chicago and its high murder rate have been frequently criticized by Trump, and cracking down on illegal immigration was a theme of his 2016 presidential campaign.

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