Chicago Sues Trump Administration For Trying To Punish Sanctuary Cities

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On Monday the city of Chicago sued President Donald Trump's Department of Justice, claiming that the Trump administration's attempt to crack down on so-called "sanctuary cities" for undocumented people were unconstitutional. A Chicago attorney wrote in the suit:

[The executive branch] may not unilaterally concoct and import ... sweeping new policy conditions that were never approved (and indeed were considered and rejected) 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.

The policy changes at issue here are the Trump administration's decision to deny federal funding to cities that do not meet its new standards for immigrant processing in the criminal justice system, because, according to President Trump, "sanctuary cities" (i.e. locales that with more relaxed immigration enforcement policies) "have resulted in so many needless deaths."

In July, Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that in order to receive funding, cities must ensure that they have complied with a federal statute that requires law enforcement officials supply information to the federal government, allow federal officers to access detention centers, and give 48 hours notice federal authorities before releasing an undocumented immigrant. In the suit, Chicago said that allowing federal immigration authorities access to jails is unconstitutional.

In an interview with CNN, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that Chicago would stand its ground and continue to operate by a philosophy that welcomes everyone. "We want you to come to Chicago if you believe in the American dream," Emanuel said.

By forcing us, or the police department, to choose between the values of the city and the philosophy of the police department, in community policing, I think it's a false choice and it undermines our actual safety agenda.

Due to its high rates of murder, Chicago has been a favorite punching bag of President Trump's. "If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible 'carnage' going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!" Trump tweeted in January.

In responding to Chicago's suit, the Department of Justice cited the city's high crime rates and said that it would defend its policies. "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 in a statement.