(CNSNews.com) -- The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) and the Bopp Law Firm announced today that they have filed a lawsuit against the City of Gary, Ind., its mayor, and its Common Council members, charging that Gary's sanctuary city ordinance, which shelters illegal aliens, violates a state law that mandates cooperation with federal immigration laws.
The city operates under ordinance 1900, adopted in May 2017, which defines Gary as a "welcoming city," which means local law enforcement is forbidden from cooperating with federal immigration officials when it comes to illegal aliens.
However, Indiana state law, Chapter 18.2, bans "what are commonly called sanctuary-city or welcoming-city ordinances," according to the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in Indiana's Lake County Circuit Court. The suit seeks to compel city officials to comply with Chapter 18.2.
“By enacting ordinance 9100, the leaders of Gary have flagrantly violated Indiana’s law prohibiting sanctuary cities,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI.
“In addition to defying state law, they are also endangering the safety of their constituents," said Wilcox. "As we saw in the Kate Steinle case, sanctuary city policies can result in tragic consequences. To allow this ordinance to stand would set a dangerous precedent in Indiana.”
"According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement estimates, roughly 2.1 million criminal aliens are living in the U.S., over 1.9 million of which are removable," said the IRLI in a statement.
"These criminal aliens continue to live in communities and engage in further criminal activity when state and local law enforcement are prohibited from cooperating with federal immigration officials," said the IRLI.
"[T]he reality is that sanctuary cities present an existential threat to residents of those communities and all Americans," said Brian Lonergan, the IRLI director of communications, in a commentary in The Hill. "A permissive attitude toward illegal immigrants will only promote more illegal immigration, and all the undesirable consequences for education, social services, employment and national security that come with it."
The Washington Times reported in March that there are nearly 500 jurisdictions in the United States that are "sanctuary cities."
To read the IRLI's lawsuit, click here.