Chicago to sue feds over funding threats to sanctuary cities

NewsweekRahmEmanuel
California governor wants to prevent 'abuse of federal power' on immigration
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08 August, 2017

Two outside law firms are assisting the city with the case on a pro bono basis.

Yet despite such pressing issues facing the city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made a decision to focus on keeping Chicago's sanctuary city status safe.

"The federal government should be working with cities to provide necessary resources to improve public safety، not concocting new schemes to reduce our crime-fighting resources،" he added. "When you look at the amount of federal dollars that the City of Chicago receives for various things, including the safety and security of our residents, it totals nearly $1.3 billion".

Emanuel acknowledged that the Byrne Grant - which the city has used to purchased police vehicles, radios and stun guns - amounts for a tiny fraction of the city's $8.2 billion 2017 budget.

Chicago Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel said cities would have to give the feds 48 hours' advance notice of an arrestee's release, "which, in many cases, would require detaining individual residents longer than necessary for the sole objective of providing that 48-hour advance notice - in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights". He had been protecting a Guyanese immigrant who reported illegal activity to police. The mayor is taking a stand against the president's immigration policies, specifically the new requirements that tie federal funding to cooperation with immigration enforcement.

Under the new instructions، police departments are required to inform federal officials of an illegal immigrant's release at least 48 hours in advance.

He said cities would be barred from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants unless they allow immigration authorties unlimited access to local jails, and provide 48 hours notice before releasing anyone wanted for immigration violations. "Once that individual is found to no longer be a suspect or has paid his or her bond you can not have the legal authority to continue to detain them", said Mary Meg McCarty with the National Immigrant Justice Center.

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"Our job is to investigate crime, our job is not to investigate immigration status or documentation", Johnson said.

"Removing those resources, regardless of the reason, makes CPD's mission to protect all residents in Chicago that much more hard".

Emanuel said U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' plan to withhold some federal grants from local police in so-called sanctuary cities violated the Constitution, stymied police anti-crime efforts and threatened the city's long history as a place where immigrants have prospered.

In Chicago, $3.6 billion in federal funds are at stake, possibly jeopardizing money to pay for everything from feeding low-income pregnant women to repairing roads and bridges, according to a recent analysis by the Better Government Association, a nonpartisan state watchdog group.

The Trump administration has already faced legal battles over its sanctuary city policies.

One 2015 study from the American Immigration Council found that while the foreign-born population of the USA grew from 7.9% to 13.1% between 1990 and 2013, the violent crime rate declined 48%.


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