Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
(CNSNews.com) – In response to Chicago’s lawsuit against the Justice Department regarding federal funds for sanctuary cities, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Chicago follows a policy that protects “criminal aliens who prey” on residents and that the Trump administration will not “give away grant dollars to city governments that proudly violate the rule of law and protect criminal aliens.”
Sessions added that Chicago’s policies were “astounding” given the city’s “unprecedented violent crime surge.” In 2016, there were 788 homicides in Chicago and 4,368 shooting victims.
Chicago's Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former chief of staff to President Barack Obama. (WBBM)
On Monday, Chicago's Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former chief of staff to President Barack Obama, announced the lawsuit against the Justice Department, claiming that “new conditions” for receiving funds from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Grant” (Byrne JAG) are “unauthorized and unconstitutional.”
The Byrne JAG grant provides federal funds to cities to support local law enforcement. Chicago received $2.3 million in such funds in 2016. Since 2005, the city has received about $33 million in JAG funds, which it reportedly spent on police equipment, according to the Washington Post.
The “new conditions” that the lawsuit challenges would require the Chicago police to share information about illegal aliens with federal immigration authorities, allow those authorities to interrogate the aliens in local detention facilities, and give the Homeland Security Department (DHS) at least 48 hours advance notice before the police release an illegal alien.
The lawsuit states that Chicago, since the 1980s, “has directed its police officers to prioritize local law enforcement and public safety rather than diverting time, attention, and resources to investigating residents’ immigration status.”
Chicago calls this its “Welcoming City Ordinance,” which apparently “promotes public safety by ensuring that no city resident or visitor, regardless of immigration status, is afraid to cooperate with law enforcement,” and allows the Chicago police to “focus on criminal activity occurring in Chicago instead of federal civil immigration infractions.”
In order to receive the JAG funds, the City of Chicago is required to comply with the new rules set by the Justice Department on or before Sept. 5, 2017. The lawsuit was filed on Aug. 7.
In response to the lawsuit, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement, “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.”
(Photo: Homicide Watch Chicago)
“They have demonstrated an open hostility to enforcing laws designed to protect law enforcement — Federal, state, and local — and reduce crime, and instead have adopted an official policy of protecting criminal aliens who prey on their own residents,” said Sessions.
“This is astounding given the unprecedented violent crime surge in Chicago, with the number of murders in 2016 surpassing both New York and Los Angeles combined,” he said. “The city’s leaders cannot follow some laws and ignore others and reasonably expect this horrific situation to improve.”
In 2016, there were 334 homicides in New York City and in Los Angeles there were 294 homicides – combined, 628.
In Chicago there were 788 homicides in 2016, and since Jan. 1, 2017, 416 homicides, which is already higher than the annual numbers last year for NYC and L.A.
Chicago has some of the toughest gun-control laws in the country, according to the National Rifle Association.
Atorney General Sessions further said, “The Mayor [Rahm 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.”
“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,” said Sessions.
“So it’s this simple: Comply with the law or forego taxpayer dollars,” said the attorney general.