Sanctuary Cities Double Down On Shielding Criminals

Defiant Chicago mayor sues DOJ to block cut off of federal grant money.

The open border advocates believe in the paramount importance of protecting those they consider to be innocent “undocumented” immigrants from the threat of deportation. Indeed, they often declare that there is no such thing as an “illegal” immigrant. For example, a writer for GQ Magazine claimed that “technically speaking there is no such thing as an ‘illegal’ or even an ‘illegal immigrant’ – this is language designed to separate and distance us from a particular sort of criminal behaviour, which we do not use in other contexts.” The author said that such language is dehumanizing. 

What is truly dehumanizing are the murders and rapes of innocent Americans committed by illegal aliens with criminal records, who had previously been deported and returned again to the United States illegally. Local authorities in so-called sanctuary cities have set many such illegal aliens in their jails free to prey upon the innocent, rather than first alert federal immigration authorities of their whereabouts so that they can be removed from the country. One of many tragic examples involved an illegal alien in Portland, Oregon with a history of illegal entry into the United States. He had been deported previously 20 times, only to keep returning. He also had a history of arrests. Nevertheless, local officials released this illegal alien from jail last year without first informing immigration agents as they had requested. Free to prey upon residents in the community, the illegal alien allegedly sexually assaulted a 65 year old woman.

Murder-ridden Chicago is another example of the classic “sanctuary city,” which sacrifices the rule of law and the safety of its own citizens to coddle illegal aliens, even those who have broken criminal laws.

 “You are safe in Chicago. You are secure in Chicago and you are supported in Chicago," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel assured illegal immigrants last November, shortly after Donald Trump’s election as president.  Since then, Emanuel has led the fight on behalf of sanctuary cities against the Trump administration. He refuses to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement authorities in rooting out illegal immigrants who have committed additional crimes so that they can be deported. According to the Daily Caller, Emanuel “turned a $20 million property tax rebate program into a legal defense slush fund for undocumented aliens.”

Mayor Emanuel has now brought a lawsuit against the Justice Department seeking to block U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions from going ahead with new rules that would cut off federal law enforcement funds to Chicago and other sanctuary cities that protect illegal aliens in their custody from subsequent apprehension by immigration agents. Chicago has not even applied yet for a new federal grant, much less been rejected. Nevertheless, Mayor Emanuel decided to jump the gun and use taxpayers’ money to preemptively sue the Trump administration. “It is a false choice, and a wrong choice,” Chicago’s mayor said, to expect Chicago “to choose between our core values as a welcoming city and our fundamental principles of community policing.”

Emanuel’s lawsuit alleged that the Justice Department’s new rules would “federalize local jails and police stations, mandate warrantless detentions in order to investigate for federal civil infractions, sow fear in local immigrant communities, and ultimately make the people of Chicago less safe.”

Mayor Emanuel has been willing to look the other way when it comes to illegal aliens living in his “welcoming” city, on the theory that immigrant-friendly policing would encourage the illegal alien residents to be more forthcoming in reporting crimes in their communities they become aware of to the police. As evidenced by the fact that more than 400 people have been killed in Chicago this year, following a year with the highest homicide rate since the late 1990’s, Emanuel’s approach to law enforcement is clearly not working. It is Emanuel’s policies that are making the people of Chicago less safe, not the enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws. 

Attorney General Sessions wasted no time in his statement excoriating Mayor Emanuel and other city leaders for demonstrating “an open hostility to enforcing laws designed to protect law enforcement – federal, state and local – and reduce crime.” These leaders, the attorney general said, “have adopted an official policy of protecting criminal aliens who prey on their own residents.” He charged, with plenty of evidence to back him up, that Chicago is beset by a “culture of lawlessness.” 

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Rahm Emanuel has not always been so friendly to illegal immigrants himself. It cited a 1995 memo to former President Bill Clinton, in which Emanuel called for “record deportations of criminal aliens.” Attorney General Sessions could not have said it better.

The Trump administration is not seeking to deputize local officials and police into serving as arms of federal immigration law enforcement, as sanctuary city advocates have claimed. However, the administration does expect them to share relevant information with federal immigration agents. Thus, the Trump administration found that two counties, accused in the past of having “sanctuary” policies, were sufficiently cooperative with federal authorities to be eligible for continued federal grant money. Clark County in Nevada and Miami-Dade County in Florida received clearance letters this month from the Justice Department. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez had signed a memorandum reversing the county’s status as an immigrant sanctuary shortly after President Trump took office. “Miami-Dade County complies with federal law and intends to fully cooperate with the federal government,” the memo stated.

Chicago is pursuing a different course – one of defiance. It should not be rewarded for its obstructionism.

The message from the Trump administration is loud and clear. “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,” Attorney General Sessions said in his statement. “So it’s this simple: Comply with the law or forego taxpayer dollars.”

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