Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired back at the city of Chicago after lawmakers there filed a lawsuit alleging the Justice Department’s plan to withhold public safety grants from “sanctuary” cities is unconstitutional.
“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,” Mr. Sessions said Monday. “So it’s this simple: Comply with the law or forgo taxpayer dollars.”
Chicago filed a lawsuit Monday against the Justice Department, hoping a federal court will block the attorney general from imposing several new conditions for certain federal grants that require local officials to cooperate with federal immigration agents.
The attorney general announced last month that local governments would stand to lose certain federal grants if they prevent immigration agents’ access to local jails or they do not give advance notice when illegal immigrants are set to be released from custody. Jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate would lose funding under Justice Assistance Grants and the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which provide hundreds of millions of dollars a year to local law enforcement.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city won’t be “blackmailed” into changing its policies.
But Mr. Sessions shot back, saying Chicago is suffering from a “culture of lawlessness.”
“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,” Mr. Sessions said.
“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.”