Chicago files suit against DOJ over sanctuary city funding

CHICAGO – Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city is filing a federal lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s Justice Department claiming it’s illegal for the government to withhold public safety grant money from sanctuary cities.

The mayor is taking a stand against the president’s immigration policies, specifically the requirement that ties federal funding to cooperation with immigration enforcement.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last week that federal grants for local police would now be tied to compliance in three areas:

  • The city must give ICE access to police facilities
  • The city must provide ICE with 48 hours’ notice of release
  • The city must share immigration information with ICE

City officials said complying with the new requirements, to get federal money, would violate Chicago’s “Welcoming City” ordinance — a law which prohibits the CPD from giving federal officials access to people in custody, bans ICE agents from police facilities for interrogations and bars cops from sharing immigration status information.

Mayor Emanuel says linking the new requirements to the grant money is unconstitutional and a form of coercing cities into complying with the administration's immigration plans.

“We are filing this lawsuit in response to the unlawful and unconstitutional conditions that the Department of Justice has recently announced, under the fiscal year 2017 Byrne Justice Assistance Grants,” Ed Siskel, Chicago Corporation Counsel, said.

The Byrne Justice Assistance Grants would give Chicago $3.2 million dollars.

The city will head to federal court Monday to argue that the Attorney General’s actions imposing the new conditions are unlawful.

“Chicago will not be blackmailed into changing our values, and we are and will remain a welcoming city,” Emanuel said in a press release.

The Justice Department responded to the announcement of the lawsuit saying "it's tragic the mayor is less concerned with violence than he is with spending time and taxpayer money protecting criminal aliens."

Two outside law firms are assisting the city with the case on a pro bono basis.