City to file 2nd suit vs. Ses­sions, Trump DOJ over sanc­tu­ary city poli­cies

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY MITCHELL ARMENTROUT, STAFF RE­PORTER mar­men­trout@sun­ | @mitchtrout

Amid an on­go­ing le­gal bat­tle over fed­eral law en­force­ment grants held back last year over sanc­tu­ary city poli­cies, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city of Chicago are set to file an­other law­suit against At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions and the Trump De­part­ment of Jus­tice over funds with­held this year.

City Law De­part­ment of­fi­cials said they planned to file suit Fri­day, ac­cus­ing the feds of once again ty­ing this year’s Ed­ward Byrne Memo­rial Jus­tice As­sis­tance Grants — a lead­ing source of fed­eral crime-fight­ing fund­ing — to “new and un­law­ful” im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment re­quire­ments.

“In­stead of invit­ing law­suits and at­tack­ing im­mi­grants, the Trump DOJ should im­me­di­ately stop plac­ing il­le­gal con­di­tions on these grants, quit with­hold­ing grant fund­ing and al­low Chicago to use these grants to im­prove pub­lic safety,” Emanuel said in a state­ment. “We will not be bul­lied, in­tim­i­dated or co­erced into mak­ing a false choice be­tween our val­ues as a wel­com­ing city and the prin­ci­ples of com­mu­nity polic­ing.”

Jus­tice De­part­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives did not im­me­di­ately re­turn mes­sages seek­ing com­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to the city, the feds have im­posed a new “har­bor­ing” con­di­tion pro­hibit­ing the city from pro­tect­ing un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants, and are re­quir­ing ad­di­tional cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of com­pli­ance with im­mi­gra­tion law to re­ceive grants.

The city first sued Ses­sions in Au­gust 2017, after the DOJ or­dered Chicago and other sanc­tu­ary cities to give 48-hour no­tice be­fore re­leas­ing un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants from cus­tody; to al­low im­mi­gra­tion agents ac­cess to jails; and to share ci­ti­zen­ship in­for­ma­tion with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

Ses­sions warned city of­fi­cials that if they didn’t com­ply with his or­ders, the city wouldn’t be el­i­gi­ble for the Byrne grant, which was worth more than $2 mil­lion. The city hasn’t yet re­ceived an award let­ter for 2018.

The city ar­gued that its long­stand­ing “Wel­com­ing City” pol­icy pro­tects Chicagoans and leads to re­duc­tions in crime. City at­tor­neys also have ar­gued that com­ply­ing with Ses­sions’ or­der would force the city to de­tain peo­ple for longer than con­sti­tu­tion­ally per­mis­si­ble.

Ses­sions pre­vi­ously sought to have Chicago’s first law­suit tossed, but in July, U.S. Dis­trict Judge Harry Leinen­we­ber sided with the city — an or­der with na­tional im­pli­ca­tions.

Leinen­we­ber said the in­junc­tion against Ses­sions’ re­quire­ments ap­plied na­tion­wide be­cause there is “no rea­son to think that the le­gal is­sues present in this case are re­stricted to Chicago.”

Jeff Ses­sions

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