Maybe you came to Chicago 20 years ago, illegally, to find work to support a family back in Mexico.

Are you an “animal?”

President Donald Trump thinks so.

Maybe you were brought here as an infant from another country, again illegally, and you’ve done nothing since then but go to school and make your parents proud.

Are you an “animal?”

How about the man who grills your burger at the diner, the woman who watches your kids, the young men who cut your grass?

Are they all animals, too?

EDITORIAL

The travesty of Trump’s attack on sanctuary cities such as Chicago is that it is premised on a lie. The Trump administration would have you believe that America’s cities have been overrun by murderous illegal immigrants, and that this explains the problem of crime in Chicago and elsewhere.

It is not true. There is no evidence that people living illegally in the United States are any more likely to commit crimes than anybody else, and there is strong evidence to the contrary. Yet that claim is at the heart of Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ eagerness to crank up deportations and punish sanctuary cities, counties and states, including Chicago, that refuse to go along.

Just two weeks ago, Trump warned of “criminal aliens who poison our communities with drugs and prey on innocent young people.” He called them “animals” and said they would find “no safe haven.” He bragged of his “crackdown on sanctuary cities.”

On Monday, the City of Chicago sued the Trump administration, arguing the Department of Justice has no legal grounds for denying Chicago federal crime-fighting funds because it is a sanctuary city. It would be unconstitutional, the suit argues, for Chicago to detain people without cause just so federal immigration officials could interview them. And Chicago’s public safety would be endangered if the police started acting more like immigration cops. Witnesses to crimes don’t come forward when they fear being deported.

And how did Sessions respond to the suit later Monday? He lashed out in bigotry even more. He accused the city of having “an official policy of protecting criminal aliens who prey on their own residents.”

There is no need for this crackdown. A new study by the American Immigration Council found that while the number of unauthorized immigrants to the United States more than tripled from 1990 to 2013, the violent crime rate declined by almost half. Chicago has a serious violent crime problem, but plenty of other cities with large populations of newcomers — legal and illegal — such as Miami, El Paso and San Diego, are ranked among the safest communities in the nation.

Chicago’s suit cites another new study that concludes sanctuary cities have proportionately less crime than non-sanctuary cities, all things considered, because the police have a more “trusting and supportive” relationship with the community.

Immigrants, authorized or not, are motivated people. They come to work. Where’s the crime in that?

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