Chicago Will Sue the Justice Department Over Threats to Defund Sanctuary Cities

Posted August 08, 2017

Chicago will keep fighting President Donald Trump's immigration policies with a federal lawsuit alleging it's illegal for the federal government to withhold public safety grants from so-called sanctuary cities, Emanuel announced Sunday, Aug. 6.

According to a report from CNN, the city, through the office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, called the Trump administration policies "misguided" and said that they would be challenging the new guidelines to ensure that the safety of Chicago's residents was not threatened. Cities and states across the country have sued the Trump administration over a variety of policies, including its ban on travelers from certain majority-Muslim countries, but few if any have had a legal team with as much high-level government experience as this one.

In general، "sanctuary cities" offer safe harbor to undocumented immigrants and often advance the enforcement of federal immigration laws without municipal funds or resources.

"Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate", Chicago Mayor Ram Emanuel told the Chicago Tribune. "We can not be forced to violate our residents' constitutional rights".

The City of Chicago is filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Justice Department to protect federal grant money after the Trump administration changed the rules to apply.

In that case, even the Justice Department's lawyers acknowledged in court that the department's ability to withhold federal funding from states and local governments is limited to a small number of grants.

"By forcing us, or the police department, to choose between the values of the city and the philosophy of the police department". 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.

"In 2016, more Chicagoans were murdered than in New York City and Los Angeles combined", Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior said in a statement.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded to Sessions' plan to deny the public safety grants to Chicago.

The city received $2.3 million from a federal grant program a year ago to buy SWAT equipment, police cars, radios, and tasers, according to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office.

The lawsuit is centered around the FY2017 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, or JAG, which provides federal funding to support local law enforcement efforts. He said the CPD is "here for you regardless of who you are or where you're from". The grant in question would provide the City of Chicago with about $3.2 million for 2017.

It remains one of the most overwhelmingly violent cities in America.

The governor made the comments during an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd that will air Sunday on "Meet the Press".

"We need people to work with our officers and trust our officers", Emanuel said. He also wants immigration agents to have access to local jails.