Chicago will sue Trump administration over sanctuary cities grant threat

Claudine Rigal
Août 7, 2017

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says 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.

The City's lawsuit will argue that the Justice Department can not make grants contingent on these requirements because they would "effectively federalize local detention facilities" and violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in requiring detainees to be held beyond the timeframe in which they would otherwise be eligible for release.

Less than two weeks ago U.S. attorney General Jeff sessions announced that the U.S. Department of justice will save the city some grants, if they will not allow immigration authorities to visit the local jail and within 48 hours to inform them about the dismissal of persons wanted for violation of immigration laws.

The Justice Department did not immediately comment on Sunday.

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".

For one, Sessions will be requiring police stations to give 24-7 access to immigration and customs enforcement.

The mayor is taking a stand against the president's immigration policies, specifically the requirement that ties federal funding to cooperation with immigration enforcement. "Half the patents at the University of IL come from immigrants, and so we want to continue to welcome people, welcome their ideas, welcome their families to the city of Chicago, who want to build the American dream for their children and their grandchildren".

Yet despite such pressing issues facing the city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has chose to focus on keeping Chicago's sanctuary city status safe.

Missing out on the federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants could potentially cost sanctuary cities millions of dollars. He said the city will ask a judge to declare the new Byrne grant conditions declared unlawful and unconstitutional before they affect the city. The Justice Department said in a statement that more Chicagoans were murdered previous year than residents of Los Angeles and NY combined.

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