Chicago to sue Justice Department over sanctuary city policy
Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a radio interview that the city will sue the Department of Justice over denial of Byrne grants because of its failure to cooperate with federal immigration officials.
The new policy punishes sanctuary cities for not cooperating with federal agents charged with enforcing immigration laws. The city was set to receive $3.2 million in grants.
The suit will claim that it's illegal for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to withhold federal Byrne grants from cities the Trump administration believes aren't cooperating enough with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, the mayor said.
Chicago this year expects to receive $3.2 million from the Byrne grant program, money mostly used to buy police vehicles and other equipment, the Tribune reported. The grants are named for Edward Byrne, a New York City police officer who was murdered in 1988.
"We are not going to be between picking our values of who we are as a welcoming city, and strengthening our police department," Emanuel said in the interview.
In filing the suit, Emanuel is likely trying to court support from Chicago's Latinos, who are wary of the Trump administration's immigration policies, as well as gain clout among other big-city Democratic mayors as they try to block Trump initiatives, the newspaper reported.
The Justice Department declined to comment on Emanuel's comments Friday.
On Thursday, Fox News reported that Sessions threatened to withhold anti-crime funding from four cities – Baltimore; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Stockton and San Bernardino, California – if they did not begin to cooperate more thoroughly with federal immigration officers.
Dear Mr. Mayor: You are "welcoming" to your city illegal aliens who have been arrested for serious crimes and are therefore deportable. We're not talking about federal agents swooping into Hispanic neighborhoods rousting people to find illegal aliens. The reason for the denial of grants is that the city refuses to honor immigration "holds" for illegals arrested for a serious crime.
Perhaps residents of Chicago would be interested to know that you "welcome" violent criminals into the city. I'm sure they would be just as pleased as you are.
Courts in the past have ruled that cities can voluntarily refuse an ICE "hold" on an illegal already being held on another charge. To "encourage" cooperation, the federal government has decided that cities who play that game are ineligible for certain funds. The feds are not in the business of subsidizing police departments so that they can thumb their noses at the law.
Several other jurisdictions have already sued DoJ, so it will be up to the courts to say whether U.S. immigration law is for everyone or only those who choose to obey it.