During the 2016 presidential campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump promised to cut off certain federal funds to sanctuary cities. On July 26th, 2017, President Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was cutting off $385 million in grant money to cities and states that were deemed insufficiently cooperative to federal immigration enforcement agents. In other words, the DOJ is attempting to cut off money from sanctuary cities.
As a result of this action by the DOJ, Chicago is poised to lose out on more than $11 million. That is how much the city’s law enforcement agencies received in DOJ grant money in the previous fiscal year. There is also a possibility that the city could lose out on additional federal funds from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Federal agencies under the leadership of the Trump Administration are attempting to twist Chicago’s arm to get the city government to drop its sanctuary status.
According to reporting from NBC 5 Chicago, the City of Chicago has already filed a suit against the Department of Justice. In a press conference announcing the action, Mayor Emanuel stated that Chicago will not be pressured by the Trump Administration into changing its values. The city will always remain a welcoming place for immigrants of all backgrounds.
The lawsuit brought by Chicago contends that the DOJ’s actions are unconstitutional. According to a city lawyer, the federal government does not have the legal authority to put a legal requirement that the local jurisdiction must give up their sanctuary status to receive their fair share of federal grant money. While it is well-settled law that the federal government can put certain conditions on grant money, the Supreme Court has made it very clear that such conditions must be germane to the federal interest regarding the actual project to which the money is directed.
Many legal observers believe that Chicago could prevail in this lawsuit because the grant money, which is often for basic law enforcement, is only very loosely connected to immigration policy. Our firm will keep a close watch on this case and all other legal developments related to immigration law and immigration enforcement.
At Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC, we are proud to support immigrants and their families in the Chicago metro area. If you or a loved one needs immigration-related legal help, please do not hesitate to call us today at (312) 332-2550 to request your no obligation initial legal consultation.
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The KB&A Team