City of Chicago sues Trump Administration over safety grants

The Justice Department responded to the lawsuit by echoing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying that sanctuary cities make Americans less safe, and citing Chicago's murder rate (a popular target of Trump, and one that many claim is badly skewed, ) stating that more residents of Chicago were murdered past year than NY and Los Angeles combined.

Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing back against the federal government.

Monday morning, the city will file a lawsuit in federal court against Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "The city of Chicago can not under the law and the under the Constitution be forced to make a choice between either sacrificing critical grant funds for public safety or agreeing to conditions that directly violate the Constitution and our Welcoming City Ordinance", said Edward Siskel, City of Chicago Corporation Counsel.

Mr. Emanuel said the Trump administration was asking Chicago "to choose between our core values as a welcoming city and our fundamental principles of community policing".

"We want residents to see the police department as partners to make their city safe", he said. "We are asking the court to ensure that we are not forced to either forego critical grant funds or agree to new conditions, which violate the Constitution and our Welcoming City ordinance".

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Chicago Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel said cities would have to give the feds 48 hours' advance notice of an arrestee's release, "which, in many cases, would require detaining individual residents longer than necessary for the sole goal of providing that 48-hour advance notice - in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights".

The Justice Department will have an opportunity to respond to Chicago's lawsuit, but in the meantime pushed back against Emanuel's assertions earlier Monday.

Chicago had expected to receive $3.2 million this year from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants, and had planned to devote most of the funding to police vehicles.

"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", Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said. But Emanuel said the equipment it buys is "needed" and called the effort to pull those grants "the camel's nose under the tent".

Naturally, many on the left argue that the president does not have the constitutional authority to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities. Chicago became the first city to sue the Justice Department over this issue. Opponents argue the federal government is essentially trying to deputize local law enforcement and that everyday policing is made more hard when people are afraid to talk to the officers for fear their immigration status will be uncovered. Cook County, which also prohibits the Sheriff's Department from cooperating with immigration officers, is considering its "legal options going forward", Preckwinkle said. "Once that individual is found to no longer be a suspect or has paid his or her bond you can not have the legal authority to continue to detain them", said Mary Meg McCarty with the National Immigrant Justice Center.

  • Darren Santiago