Chicago sues U.S. over sanc­tu­ary ci­ties threat

Ses­sions re­sponds: En­force the law, or give up fed­eral cash.

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Michael Tarm and Sophia Tareen

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has taken his fight against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies to court, with Chicago be­com­ing one of the first ci­ties Mon­day to sue over what many U.S. ci­ties ar­gue are il­le­gal bids to with­hold pub­lic safety grants from so-called sanc­tu­ary ci­ties.

Hours later, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions hit back at Chicago, say­ing the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion “will not sim­ply give away grant dol­lars to city gov­ern­ments that proudly vi­o­late the rule of law and pro­tect crim­i­nal aliens at the ex­pense of pub­lic safety.”

“So it’s this sim­ple: Com­ply with the law or forgo tax­payer dol­lars,” he said in a toughly word-ed state­ment.

A 46-page law­suit, which names Ses­sions, was filed ear­lier Mon­day in U.S. Dis­trict Court in Chicago a day af­ter Emanuel an­nounced the lit­i­ga­tion and said the city won’t “be black­mailed” into chang­ing its val­ues as a city wel­com­ing of im­mi­grants.

It’s the lat­est round in a bat­tle pit­ting sev­eral U.S. ci­ties against the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion. The ci­ties have opted to limit co­op­er­a­tion with gov­ern­ment en­force­ment of im­mi­gra­tion law while fed­eral of­fi­cials threaten to with­hold fund­ing if those ci­ties don’t com­ply.

While es­ti­mates vary, there are thought to be about 300 ju­ris­dic­tions — in­clud­ing ci­ties and coun­ties — with sanc­tu­ary-like poli­cies. Among the other big­ger U.S. ci­ties with such poli­cies are New York and Philadel­phia.

A first order of busi­ness now that Chicago’s suit has been filed will be to ask a judge to put a freeze on the pol­icy as the civil case plays out, said Ed­ward Siskel, the head of City Hall’s le­gal depart­ment.

Chicago has re­ceived the grant funds at the heart of the law­suit since 2005. It spent $33 mil­lion in grants to buy nearly 1,000 po­lice cars in that 12-year pe­riod; it got $2.3 mil­lion last year.

While the grant money amounts to a frac­tion of Chicago’s pub­lic safety bud­get, Emanuel has said fight­ing the gov­ern­ment now could help pre­vent the with­hold­ing of more money later. He de­scribed the Trump mea­sures so far as just “the camel’s nose un­der the tent.”

In his Mon­day state­ment, Ses­sions said Chicago stood out in its “open hos­til­ity” to en­forc­ing im­mi­gra­tion laws.

“To a de­gree per­haps un­sur­passed by any other ju­ris­dic­tion, the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship of Chicago has cho­sen de­lib­er­ately and in­ten­tion­ally to adopt a pol­icy that ob­structs this coun­try’s law­ful im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem,” he said.

Chicago’s suit fo­cuses on new con­di­tions set by Ses­sions for ci­ties to qual­ify for grant money. They in­clude the shar­ing of im­mi­gra­tion-sta­tus records with fed­eral agen­cies, pro­vid­ing 48 hours’ no­tice of a de­tainee’s re­lease if im­mi­gra­tion vi­o­la­tions are sus­pected and giv­ing fed­eral agents un­fet­tered ac­cess to jails.

“The gov­ern­ment,” the law­suit says, can’t “uni­lat­er­ally” set new con­di­tions that weren’t ap­proved by Congress “and that would fed­er­al­ize lo­cal jails and po­lice sta­tions, man­date war­rant­less de­ten­tions in order to in­ves­ti­gate for fed­eral civil in­frac­tions, sow fear in lo­cal im­mi­grant com­mu­ni­ties, and ul­ti­mately make the peo­ple of Chicago less safe.”

Chicago’s sanc­tu­ary poli­cies date back to the mid1980s and suc­ces­sive city coun­cils have con­firmed or ex­panded the pro­tec­tions.

The city pro­hibits po­lice from pro­vid­ing fed­eral Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms of­fi­cials ac­cess to peo­ple in po­lice cus­tody, un­less they are wanted on a crim­i­nal war­rant or have se­ri­ous crim­i­nal con­vic­tions. Lo­cal po­lice are also barred from al­low­ing ICE agents to use their fa­cil­i­ties for in­ter­views or in­ves­ti­ga­tions and from re­spond­ing to ICE in­quiries or talk­ing to ICE of­fi­cials about a per­son’s cus­tody sta­tus or re­lease date.

City au­thor­i­ties say the poli­cies help en­cour­age res­i­dents of the im­mi­grant com­mu­nity to in­form po­lice when they are vic­tims of crimes.

“If Chicago sub­mits to the Depart­ment’s de­mands, it will for­feit decades’ worth of trust and good­will that its po­lice force has built in the com­mu­ni­ties it serves,” the new law­suit ar­gues.

Ses­sions al­luded to ar­gu­ments also made by Trump that en­forc­ing im­mi­gra­tion laws can re­duce crime. He calls Chicago’s “hos­til­ity” to such laws es­pe­cially “as­tound­ing” given that num­bers of homi­cides in the city in 2016 out­paced the num­bers in New York and Los An­ge­les.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has gone to court.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.