The City of Chicago on Monday made good on its weekend promise and filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice over its tougher sanctuary city policy.
Lawyers for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel and Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson filed the 46-page lawsuit, which asked a judge to stop the Justice Department from enforcing its newest guidelines on immigration that cities have to follow in order to receive Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grants.
"These new conditions — which would give federal officials the power to enter city facilities and interrogate arrestees at will and would force the City to detain individuals longer than justified by probable cause, solely to permit federal officials to investigate their immigration status — are unauthorized and unconstitutional," the city's lawyers wrote.
Late last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued new guidance for how cities that receive the grants will be able to receive them in the next fiscal year. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents will have to be allowed enter into prisons and jails, or the jurisdictions risk losing JAG grants, the Justice Department said.
Chicago's lawsuit argued that the threat to pull JAG grants is unconstitutional. The city has used the money — $3.2 million last year — for a variety of purposes, including buying SWAT equipment, police vehicles, radios and tasers.
"Chicago will not be blackmailed into changing our values, and we are and will remain a welcoming City," said Emanuel in a statement. "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. The City of Chicago will continue to stand up to President Trump and his Justice Department to ensure that their misguided policies do not threaten the safety of our residents."
Chicago is one of several jurisdictions deemed "sanctuary" by the Justice Department, which has been cracking down on policies Sessions has said are dangerous to public safety and contribute to violence.
Emanuel told CNN on Monday that the new guidelines from the Justice Department undermine "our actual safety agenda."
"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," Justice Department spokesman Devin O'Malley said in a statement.
Read the lawsuit below.