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Chicago hits White House with lawsuit over "sanctuary city" de-funding threat
At stake is the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grant program, which provides law-enforcement grants to hundreds of cities every year.
By James Carlin
Contributor
Jan 12, 2018

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WASHINGTON D.C. — Chicago will sue the Trump administration on Monday over its threats to withhold public-safety funds from cities that do not comply with federal immigration-law enforcement, announced Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Sunday. Emanuel's announcement adds to an already-growing list of legal challenges that the Trump administration is facing over its attempts to crack down on "sanctuary cities" that do not report undocumented immigrants to federal agents.
"Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate," Emanuel said at a news conference. "Chicago will not let our residents have their fundamental rights isolated and violated. And Chicago will never relinquish our status as a welcoming city."
At stake is the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grant program, which provides law-enforcement grants to hundreds of cities every year. The Trump administration requested $380 million in funding for the program for next year, but only for cities that report any undocumented immigrants to federal agents: Two weeks ago, Attorney-General Jeff Sessions said that the Justice Department would exclude from the grant program any "sanctuary cities" that ignore this directive to turn over undocumented immigrants.

Sessions' warning follows Trump's January executive order in which he threatened to withhold funding from sanctuary cities. Numerous cities and municipalities openly protested this threat and vowed to continue to protect undocumented immigrants within their jurisdictions.

Most of these cities have not sued over it like Emanuel says he will do. But the Democratic Chicago mayor has some legal precedent in a court case that San Francisco and Santa Clara County, California, filed successfully to block Trump's January executive order denying funds to such jurisdictions. A U.S. judge turned down a request to appeal the case last month.