Chicago Will Sue Trump Administration Over Sanctuary Cities Grant Threat

Reuters, August 6, 2017

Rahm Emanuel

Chicago will sue the Trump administration on Monday over threats to withhold public safety grant money from so-called sanctuary cities, the city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, announced on Sunday.

The federal lawsuit, which escalates a nationwide pushback against a federal immigration crackdown, comes less than two weeks after the US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, announced that the justice department would strip cities of certain grant funds unless they agreed to allow authorities unlimited access to local jails and to provide 48 hours’ notice before releasing anyone wanted for immigration violations.

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Emanuel said the lawsuit would prevent the Trump administration from setting a precedent that could be used to target other funding.

The program in question, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants, provides money to hundreds of cities across the country.

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Chicago, a regular target of criticism from Donald Trump because of its murder rate, expected to receive $3.2m this year and planned to devote most of it to police vehicles.

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Chicago’s lawsuit is the first to challenge the department over the Byrne program, though city officials said they were in contact with other cities. California attorney general Xavier Becerra is considering a similar lawsuit, the Sacramento Bee has reported.

The Trump administration has already faced legal battles over its sanctuary city policies. Last month, a US judge refused to revisit a court ruling that blocked Trump’s January executive order denying broader federal funds to such jurisdictions, in a case filed by San Francisco and the California county of Santa Clara.

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