Wall Street Journal
By Valerie Bauerlien
August 06, 2017
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Sunday the city will file a federal lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s use of federal grant money as a way to force local authorities to cooperate with a crackdown on illegal immigration.
The showdown over so-called sanctuary cities has been months in the making, as some local governments resist federal calls to hold people in jail when asked to do so by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.
The lawsuit, to be filed Monday, is coming now, Mr. Emanuel said, because the Justice Department recently required such cooperation for cities to be considered for a long-running federal crime prevention grant, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant. Mr. Emanuel said the new rules would require cities to allow the Department of Homeland Security to have unlimited access to local police stations and law-enforcement facilities.
“Chicago will not be blackmailed into changing our values, and we are and will remain a welcoming City,” Mr. Emanuel said in a press release Sunday.
The Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month said it is appropriate and long overdue for the department to make grants to local governments that allow federal immigration access to detention facilities and which provide 48 hours notice before the release of an illegal immigrant wanted by federal authorities.
“This is what the American people should be able to expect from their cities and states,” he said.
The Byrne JAG funds provided $347 million to state and local governments last year. The city of Chicago said it routinely uses the grant money to buy vehicles and SWAT equipment. Last year, Chicago received $2.3 million in Byrne JAG funds.
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