Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Sunday that the city will file a federal lawsuit against the Department of Justice over the Trump administration's immigration policies. The lawsuit contends it's illegal for the federal government to withhold public safety grants from so-called sanctuary cities.
"We’re not going to actually auction off our values as a city, so Monday morning the city of Chicago is going to court, we’re going to take the Justice Department to court based on this," Emanuel said.
The mayor added that Chicago won't "be blackmailed into changing our values, and we are and will remain a welcoming City."
Officials said there are new qualifications for a public safety grant requiring cities to share information with federal immigration authorities. City officials allege those qualifications are unconstitutional.
Specifically, Chicago aims to stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions from restricting the use of Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, which are used to assist with law enforcement personnel, training, and equipment. Chicago received about $2.3 million in such grants last year, which have been used for buying police vehicles.
When asked to comment on Emanuel's statement, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Ian D. Prior said via email: "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."
"Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate," Emanuel said. "Chicago will not let our residents have their fundamental rights isolated and violated. And Chicago will never relinquish our status as a welcoming city."
The lawsuit will be filed Monday. Chicago is being helped by two outside law firms on a pro bono basis.