Sessions Slams Chicago Over Lawsuit Challenging DOJ Sanctuary Cities Policy

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, prior to testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about his role in the firing of James Comey, his Russian contacts during the campaign and his decision to recuse from an investigation into possible ties between Moscow and associates of President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP

After the city of Chicago on Monday filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department over its new policy of withholding grant money from sanctuary cities, Attorney General Jeff Sessions lashed out at the city in a statement.

Sessions began by blasting the city of Chicago for “an open hostility” for enforcing laws.

“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. 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,” Sessions said in the statement. “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.”

Sessions then indicated that he will not be deterred by lawsuits.

“The Mayor 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,” he said. “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. So it’s this simple: Comply with the law or forego taxpayer dollars.”

In July, Sessions announced that the Justice Department would withhold certain grant money from cities unless they give federal law enforcement access to local prisons and give the federal a heads up when they are going to release an undocumented immigrant from jail.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Sunday that he would sue the federal government over the new DOJ policy, arguing that it’s unconstitutional.

“Chicago will not be blackmailed into changing our values, and we are and will remain a welcoming city,” he said at a press conference. “The federal government should be working with cities to provide necessary resources to improve public safety, not concocting new schemes to reduce our crime-fighting resources.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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