The city of Chicago on Monday officially filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration as promised, asking a judge to stop the Justice Department from enforcing new grant guidelines. The 46-page filing said the guidelines would “give federal immigration officials unlimited access to local police stations and law enforcement facilities in order to interrogate any suspected non-citizen held there, effectively federalizing all of the City’s detention facilities.”
According to the city’s lawyers, “These new conditions — which would give federal officials the power to enter city facilities and interrogate arrestees at will and would force the City to detain individuals longer than justified by probable cause, solely to permit federal officials to investigate their immigration status — are unauthorized and unconstitutional.”
During a press conference Monday morning, Chicago Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel told reporters “we are bringing this legal challenge because of the rhetoric – the threats — from this administration embodied in these new conditions.” He also said a motion for a preliminary injunction would follow.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel accused President Donald Trump’s Justice Department over the weekend of threatening to withhold crime-fighting money from cities if police departments don’t cooperate with federal immigration agents.
“Chicago will not be blackmailed into changing our values, and we are and will remain a welcoming city,” Emanuel said on Sunday when he formally announced the lawsuit. “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.”
A former high-ranking Justice Department lawyer said he didn’t believe Attorney General Jeff Sessions “has the authority to add the requirements to a grant program created by Congress or to force local police departments to carry out federal immigration functions.”
The federal government, however, does have a long history of withholding federal funding as a way of forcing states to comply with federal laws.
- 1974 – When President Nixon and Congress set the national speed limit at 55 miles per hour to ease the demand for gasoline, they tied states’ compliance to highway funding.
- 1975 – The government leveraged the Highway Trust Fund to mandate that motorcyclists wear helmets (since rescinded).
- 1984 – The Reagan administration leveraged federal highway funds to get states to comply with the new national drinking age of 21.
- 2009 – Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tried (but failed) to force states to outlaw texting while driving by making the laws a prerequisite for highway funding.
- 2015 – The Obama administration famously threatened to withhold Medicaid funding from states unless they agreed to expand Obamacare.
As for the mayor’s charge that the DOJ is “concocting new schemes to reduce Chicago’s crime-fighting resources,” Chicago’s premier police blog Second City Cop says that is actually Rahmbo’s specialty:
- Rahm brought the police up to “full strength” by eliminating 1,200 spots in the budget;
- Then he brought in a hack who cut citywide units to zero, pretended to empty HQ, closed three districts and two detective areas, leaving the same amount of cops to cover twice the “new” territories, then acted surprised when homicides shot through the roof;
- His hack then brought in a discredited number counting scheme that downgraded crime rather than solved it, hiding property crimes and reclassifying violent crime;
- Rahm hid a video of a questionable police shooting to get reelected, threw his hack under the bus and has further kowtowed to an “aggrieved community” that has mostly itself to blame for its failures to assimilate into a law abiding society, blaming (who else?) the police.
The Department of Justice responded to the Emanuel’s promised lawsuit Sunday by accusing him of being more concerned with protecting criminal aliens than combating the growing crime problem besieging his city. Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores told the Sun-Times:
In 2016, more Chicagoans were murdered than in New York City and Los Angeles combined. 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.
The American people, meanwhile, “overwhelmingly” oppose sanctuary cities:
An overwhelming majority of Americans believe that cities that arrest illegal immigrants for crimes should be required to turn them over to federal authorities.
The poll shows that President Trump has broad public support in his effort to crack down on sanctuary cities.
A survey from Harvard–Harris Poll provided exclusively to The Hill found that 80 percent of voters say local authorities should have to comply with the law by reporting to federal agents the illegal immigrants they come into contact with.
Emanuel may be doing what works for him in a deeply blue city, but he sure isn’t doing Democrats nationwide any favors.