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Chicago's Sanctuary City Showdown with Trump Admin, DOJ Hits Huge Murder Rate
08 August 2017, 12:08 | Cedric Leonard
Emanuel said Chicago won't"be blackmailed into changing its values as a welcoming city
"Chicago will not let our residents have their fundamental rights isolated and violated". During a press conference, Emanuel accused the Sessions-led Department of "blackmailing" Chicago into changing its values.
Emanuel's office said in a statement over the weekend that the Trump administration's "latest unlawful misguided action undermines public safety and violates" the Constitution.
A spokesman for the Department of Justice declined to comment.
And he's likely to get further chances to sound off in the coming week. "I expect other cities to follow suit". It is not yet clear whether or not withholding funds will put enough pressure on the cities in question - like Emanuel; other mayors might use this issue for their political purposes.
"So-called "sanctuary" policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes", Sessions said in a statement accompanying the new guidance. "We will assess our own legal options going forward", she said.
Chicago officials say there are new qualifications for a public safety grant requiring cities to share information with federal immigration authorities.
It is the latest round in a battle between several major US cities that opt to limit cooperation with federal government efforts to enforce immigration law and the Trump administration, with federal officials threatening for months to withhold funding for sanctuary cities, saying they don't comply with federal laws.
The department specifically named Chicago and New York City as communities that are "crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime".
Chicago ordinance bars police from providing immigration agents' access to local jails unless the detainees are wanted on a criminal warrant or have a serious criminal record, the Chicago Tribune reports.
This principle dates back at least to a 1842 Supreme Court decision striking down a requirement that states assist federal officials to capture runaway slaves.
Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said local governments would lose the money if they do not give advance notice when immigrants in the country illegally are about to be released from custody.
Siskel also said the city chose to file a lawsuit now, rather than after it had been denied a grant, because of the new conditions set last week. It contests Sessions' July announcement that the DOJ will not provide Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program funds to cities that espouse "sanctuary city" policies, refusing to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.
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. "He's brought discipline, no doubt, to that effort", Emanuel said.
Allowing a president to cut off funds based exclusively upon his own whims, without any congressional approval, could create a very unsafe precedent undercutting Congress' own authority (under separation of powers) as well as federalism (upholding states' rights).
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