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Lawsuit filed over withholding of sanctuary city safety grants

Many immigrants across Illinois are voicing their support for the city mayor, who has sued the U.S. Department of Justice in response to its new guidelines and decisions about withholding grant money used by sanctuary cities. Per the Chicago Tribune, the lawsuit questions three specific conditions used to determine whether to issue such grants to certain cities.

To qualify for grant money under the new guidelines, cities must meet three specific conditions, which some say are unlawful and unconstitutional. Under one of those conditions, cities must alert federal officials at least 48 hours ahead of releasing anyone suspected of immigration violations. Another condition dictates that sanctuary cities must grant federal officials complete access to their police stations, and a third condition asserts that sanctuary cities must share information about immigration statuses with federal officials working to enforce deportation laws.

Crain’s Chicago Business noted that the mayor believes it is unconstitutional for federal officials to coerce cities into adopting such policies. Additionally, the 46-page lawsuit contends that the new guidelines would hinder cooperation between law enforcement officials and local immigrant communities and force the city to hold people longer than probable cause would typically allow.

Chicago has received the grant money at the heart of the issue since 2005, and the mayor noted that, while it only makes up a portion of the city’s public safety budget, allowing such guidelines to take shape sets a dangerous precedent. The city uses the grant money for a variety of public safety-related expenses, with current and past uses include new law enforcement radios, new SWAT equipment and new police cars, among related expenditures.

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