Chicago is planning to sue the Trump administration over its threats to withhold funding from sanctuary cities.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the decision at press conference, saying: “Chicago will not let our residents have their fundamental rights isolated and violated, and Chicago will never relinquish our status as a welcoming city.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently declared that the Justice Department would withhold federal grant money from so-called “sanctuary cities” – localities that refuse to comply with federal immigration enforcement.
The Justice Department has demanded cities allow immigration agencies unlimited access to their jails, and provide 48 hour’s notice before releasing anyone suspected of violating immigration laws.
Mayors like Mr Emanuel, however, have taken issue with the Trump administration’s increased immigration enforcement activity. In particular, the leaders of many sanctuary cities object to the targeting of undocumented immigrants without criminal records.
“We’re not going to actually auction off our values as a city, so Monday morning the City of Chicago is going to court; we’re going to take the Justice Department to court based on this,” Mr Emmanuel told local news station WLS.
He added: “We find it unlawful and unconstitutional to be, as a city, coerced on a policy.”
Chicago is suing the Trump DOJ over its plan to make cities choose between public safety grants and our values as a welcoming city. pic.twitter.com/0B4EW6iw5c
— Mayor Rahm Emanuel (@ChicagosMayor) August 6, 2017
Missing out on the federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants could potentially cost sanctuary cities millions of dollars. Chicago alone was slated to receive $3.2m from the grant program this year to purchase new police equipment.
The funding is especially sensitive in Chicago, which Mr Trump frequently criticises for its high crime rate. The Justice Department said in a statement that more Chicagoans were murdered last year than residents of Los Angeles and New York combined.
“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,” Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said.
This is not the first time the Trump administration has been taken to court over its sanctuary city policy. Last month, the court blocked a broader executive order that would…