Rahm Emanuel Defends Lawsuit Against Justice Department Over Sanctuary Cities

The City of Chicago escalated its months-long battle with the Trump administration over immigration enforcement Monday, asking a federal court to block Attorney General Jeff Sessions from imposing several new conditions over certain federal grant money.

The suit revolves around specific conditions Sessions announced in July for a federal program, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, or Bryne JAG, which provides federal funding to support local law enforcement efforts.

“(The executive branch) may not unilaterally concoct and import into the Byrne JAG program sweeping new policy conditions that were never approved (and indeed were considered and rejected) by Congress and that would federalize local jails and police stations, mandate warrantless detentions in order to investigate for federal civil infractions, sow fear in local immigrant communities, and ultimately make the people of Chicago less safe,” attorneys for the city wrote in Monday’s filing.

In July, Sessions announced that going forward DOJ will only provide JAG grants to those that certify compliance with a federal statute that requires localities to share immigration information about individuals with the federal government, allow federal immigration access to local detention facilities, and provide the Department of Homeland Security at least 48 hours advance notice before local officials release an undocumented immigrant wanted by federal authorities.

Chicago claims that it already complies with the main federal law at issue, that the new conditions are unconstitutional, and would require Chicago to violate state law.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended his city’s lawsuit Monday, telling CNN the DOJ’s new stipulations against so-called sanctuary cities “undermines our actual safety agenda.”

“We want you to come to Chicago if you believe in the American dream,” Emanuel, a Democrat, told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on “Newsroom.” “By forcing us, or the police department, to choose between the values of the city and the philosophy of the police department, in community policing, I think it’s a false choice and it undermines our actual safety agenda.”

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SOURCE: CNN, Daniella Diaz and Laura Jarrett