Chicago joins the legal battle over sanctuary cities

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2017 | US Immigration Law

As more Texas cities line up to fight federal immigration law enforcement, a prominent metropolis to the north is drawing their own line in the fight over sanctuary cities. Another epic battle is brewing, this time with the Windy City’s top elected official.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the City of Chicago is filing a federal lawsuit to prevent the U.S. Justice Department from putting conditions on a federal crime prevention grant.

The move comes two weeks after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his department’s intention to withhold grants from sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with federal law requiring local police to share information with federal law enforcement officials.

Administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the grant money would fund state and local justice program that include prosecution, education, planning and technology.

Emanuel claims that the Justice Department is using Chicago police officers as “political pawns” in a debate and engaging in extortion tactics. He claims that the DOJ is asking the city to choose between its core values and its “fundamental principles of community policing.”

With its origins dating back to 2006, the Welcoming City ordinance is consistent with other sanctuary cities that limit the ability of local officials who are inquiring about an individual’s immigration status while conducting business unrelated to it. Chicago’s edict goes a step further by barring federal immigration officers from using local resources to enforce immigration law.

Supporters claim that sanctuary city policies make communities safer with undocumented immigrants more open to report crimes and emergencies without fear of deportation. The Trump administration and other detractors see the locally based rules as unsafe in that it undermines laws and protecting those who have committed crimes.