The City of Chicago is suing the federal government for its efforts to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, calling the Department of Justice (DOJ) announcement that cities who harbor illegal aliens won’t be eligible for federal grant funding an assault on their “fundamental rights.”
“Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate,” Emanuel, a Democrat, said at a news conference on Sunday, according to Reuters.
“Chicago will not let our residents have their fundamental rights isolated and violated,” Emanuel said. “And Chicago will never relinquish our status as a welcoming city.”
“The federal lawsuit comes less than two weeks after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the U.S. Justice Department would bar cities from a certain grant program unless they allow immigration authorities unlimited access to local jails and provide 48 hours’ notice before releasing anyone wanted for immigration violations,” Reuters reported.
On July 25, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that state and local law enforcement would be notified about new requirements for receiving Byrne JAG grants to fund law enforcement-related programs.
“Recipients for FY 2017 will be notified of new conditions of their grants that will increase information sharing between federal, state, and local law enforcement, ensuring that federal immigration authorities have the information they need to enforce immigration laws and keep our communities safe,” the DOJ announcement said.
“So-called ‘sanctuary’ policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes,” Sessions said on the occasion of the notice.
“These policies also encourage illegal immigration and even human trafficking by perpetuating the lie that in certain cities, illegal aliens can live outside the law,” Sessions said.
Sessions said the policy “is consistent with long-established cooperative principles among law enforcement agencies.”
“This is what the American people should be able to expect from their cities and states, and these long overdue requirements will help us take down MS-13 and other violent transnational gangs, and make our country safer,” Sessions said.
In March, Sessions announced the policy directed at states and cities that have adopted policies “designed to frustrate the enforcement of our immigration laws.”
“This includes refusing to detain known felons under federal detainer requests, or otherwise failing to comply with these laws,” Sessions said. “For example, the Department of Homeland Security recently issued a report showing that in a single week, there were more than 200 instances of jurisdictions refusing to honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests with respect to individuals charged or convicted of a serious crime.”
“The charges and convictions against these aliens include drug trafficking, hit and run, rape, sex offenses against a child and even murder,” Sessions said, urging state and local jurisdictions to comply with federal law, specifically 8 U.S.C. Section 1373, in order to receive grants.
The Trump administration’s proposed budget requests $380 million in that funding for 2018, with Chicago slated to receive $3.2 million for equipment for law enforcement operations, Reuters reported.
Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement issued to the Associated Press on Sunday that the mayor should be focused on the “staggering” statistics on homicide in Chicago.
“In 2016, more Chicagoans were murdered than in New York City and Los Angeles combined,” Flores said. “So 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.”
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