Attorney General Jeff Sessions responded Monday to Chicago’s lawsuit over the Department of Justice’s threat to withhold federal money from sanctuary cities, saying that “no amount of federal taxpayer money will help a city that refuses to help its own residents.”
“This administration is committed to the rule of law and to enforcing the laws established by Congress. To a degree perhaps unsurpassed by any other jurisdiction, the political leadership of Chicago has chosen deliberately and intentionally to adopt a policy that obstructs this country’s lawful immigration system,” Sessions said in a statement.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the DOJ’s threat to withhold funds from police departments that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities amounts to “blackmail.”
“Chicago will not be blackmailed into changing our values, and we are and will remain a welcoming city,” Emanuel said. “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.”
But Sessions fired back, saying Chicago seems more interested in “protecting criminal aliens who prey on their own residents.” The attorney general added that the city's priorities are especially “astounding” given its violent crime rate.
The grants, named for former New York City police officer Edward Byrne, who was murdered in 1988, would provide $3.2 million to Chicago, to be used for police vehicles. Funding from the grant is a small fraction of the city's budget.
A requirement added to the grants would force local jurisdictions to report to federal officials of the release of illegal immigrants from police custody at least 48 hours in advance, which Emanuel said would violate citizens’ “fundamental rights.” (Fox News)
Sessions noted Emanuel “complains that the federal government’s focus on enforcing the law would require a ‘reordering of law enforcement practice in Chicago.’ But that’s just what Chicago needs: a recommitment to the rule of law and to policies that rollback the culture of lawlessness that has beset the city.”
Emanuel said he believed Chicago wouldn’t be the only sanctuary city to sue the federal government over this issue, but Sessions seemed unfazed.
“This administration will not simply give away grant dollars to city governments that proudly violate the rule of law and protect criminal aliens at the expense of public safety. So it’s this simple: Comply with the law or forego taxpayer dollars,” the statement concluded.
Statement by Attorney General Sessions on the City of Chicago's Lawsuit Against the U.S. Department of Justice https://t.co/hY2xWe3JQc— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) August 7, 2017