Chicago to sue US Justice Department over funding threat

Marcus Newton
August 8, 2017

Chicago will never give up our status as the friendly city, " the mayor declared at a press conference. "It is essential that we get a ruling from a court declaratory and injunctive relief before we have to file our application", said Edward Siskel, City of Chicago Corporation Counsel.

A 161-page report by the Department of Justice released January 13 concluded that the department must embrace community policing as "a core philosophy" in order to end officers' routine violations of the civil rights of residents by using excessive force caused by poor training and nonexistent supervision.

Siskel says Chicago had to take a stand because of what he called "the rhetoric and the threats" from the Trump administration to yank funds from cities that don't adhere to its immigration priorities.

"CPD is here for you regardless of who you are or where you're from", Johnson said.

Police and city officials in sanctuary cities say deporting undocumented immigrants, who are not accused of serious offences, harms public safety, because it discourages them from reporting crimes. Mayor Emanuel has answered the attorney general by defending Chicago as a "welcoming city", one that encourages all of its residents to cooperate with police.

Local police are also barred from allowing ICE agents to use their facilities for interviews or investigations and from responding to ICE inquiries or talking to ICE officials about a person's custody status or release date.

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Indeed, notes Banzhaf, the only requirement applicable federal law imposes, under 8 U.S.C. 1373, is that state and local officials not prohibit or restrict employees from providing "information regarding citizenship or immigration status".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is threatening to curtail safety grant funds for all cities that fail to provide "unlimited access" to their jails by federal immigration authorities and/or to notify such authorities 48 hours prior to the release of alleged immigration law violators.

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

The lawsuit, the first of its kind, challenges the Trump administration's requirement that cities detain suspects for questioning by federal immigration authorities or see their grant funding for municipal police departments withheld. "So it's especially tragic that the mayor is less concerned with that staggering figure than he is spending time and taxpayer money protecting criminal aliens and putting Chicago's law enforcement at greater risk", department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The law firms filing the suit pro bono on behalf of Chicago are Riley Safer and WilmerHale.

"Section 1373 does not specifically address restrictions by state or local entities on cooperation with ICE regarding detainers".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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