Rahm to sue Justice Department over sanctuary cities fund cut threat

SHARE Rahm to sue Justice Department over sanctuary cities fund cut threat

Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the Chicago City Council meeting on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. | Brian Jackson/For the Sun-Times

The city of Chicago will battle the Trump White House in court over the threatened cut-off of federal funds in retaliation for being a sanctuary city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Friday.

“We’ll be filing on Monday morning in federal court,” Emanuel said.

“It is wrong on a values basis; immigrants are part of our community,” the mayor said, adding the lawsuit will argue that the Justice Department cannot tie grants to a change in policy regarding illegal immigrants.

The move comes as President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have been increasing pressure on the local governments – including Cook County – to cooperate with federal immigration agents hunting illegal immigrants.

Emanuel made the comments about the impending lawsuit in an interview with WLS-AM for Sunday’s edition of “Bill Cameron and Connected to Chicago.”

At issue is a $3.2 million Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, with the money used in Chicago for police department vehicles, computers in cars and other crime-fighting technology.

“We are not going to be put in a position between picking our values of who we are as a welcoming city and in strengthening our police department,” he said. “These are exactly the kind of training and technology you want to be investing in right now.”

The “Connected to Chicago” interview with Emanuel will air Sunday night, 7 to 8 p.m. on WLS-AM 890.

On March 27, Sessions threatened to cut or “claw back” Justice Department funds flowing to sanctuary cities, counties and states. The attorney general cited criminal acts by illegal immigrants in San Francisco and Denver as a reason for pursuing sanctuary localities.

The Sun-Times has reported that in Chicago, there has been no known connection between illegal immigrants and the spike in the city’s violent crime.

Besides Chicago and Cook County, the Justice Department is going after New York City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Miami, Milwaukee and California.

On Thursday, the Justice Department announced that in order for local governments to secure grants in the department’s “public safety partnership program,” local jurisdictions must show a commitment to reducing crime stemming from illegal immigration,” a move targeting Albuquerque, New Mexico; Baltimore, Maryland; San Bernardino and Stockton in California.

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