Chicago to sue feds over funding threats to sanctuary cities

DHS Secretary and Senator Involved in Tense Exchange Over Sanctuary Cities

DHS Secretary and Senator In Tense Exchange

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday called the policy counterproductive. During a press conference, Emanuel accused the Sessions-led Department of "blackmailing" Chicago into changing its values. And Siskel said holding people "longer than necessary" because ICE wants 48 hours' notice would be a "violation of their Fourth Amendment" rights related to searches and seizures.

Following the Justice Department's move, California said it would also sue the federal government. In cities like Chicago, the local police have failed to comply with the federal government.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced city officials will ask a judge to block an effort to limit federal grants to sanctuary cities, including Chicago. But one supporter of the lawsuit, Gilbert Villegas, an alderman who is chairman of the City Council's Latino Caucus, said there was "potential for that issue to creep into other grants" if it went unchallenged.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson also expressed concern about the application guidelines. They say Chicago police officers make no inquiries about immigration status because doing so might fracture residents' trust of the police and discourage those here illegally from reporting crimes or cooperating as witnesses, making the streets more unsafe.

Chicago law prohibits police from providing Immigration and Customs officials access to people in police custody, unless they are wanted on a criminal warrant or have serious criminal convictions.

The suit revolves around specific conditions Sessions announced in July for a federal program, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, or Bryne JAG, which provides federal funding to support local law enforcement efforts.

The federal government's new rules would tie the grant to requirements that, among other things, cities give federal immigration authorities unlimited access to local police stations to interrogate arrestees, Chicago officials said.

The Byrne Justice Assistance Grant is funding created to help various law enforcement agencies across the country.

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

The city received $2.3 million from a federal grant program past year to buy SWAT equipment, police cars, radios, and tasers, according to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office. Spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement, "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". In Chicago, the city's complaint states, these grants have helped the city purchase 1,000 vehicles for police officers since 2005 and allowed local nonprofits to provide "emergency shelter, food, and clothing; youth mentoring and structured activities in safe places; job training and placement; conflict resolution; and activities to strengthen community cohesion and resilience" in neighborhoods with high levels of violence. Dozens of local governments and cities, including NY and San Francisco, are part of the sanctuary movement.

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