A progressive mayor’s group has joined a lawsuit by Evanston, Illinois seeking to get an injunction against the Department of Justice’s practice of withholding federal grant money from jurisdictions that enact sanctuary policies towards illegal aliens.
“The Conference believes that the Department’s immigration-related notice, access and compliance restrictions exceed the limited, largely administrative authority that Congress gave the Attorney General in the Byrne JAG statute; violate the U.S. Constitution; and represent an unwarranted federal intrusion into local policing practices that will jeopardize public safety,” Conference of Mayors CEO Tom Cochran said.
The suit, Evanston & USCM v. Jefferson Sessions, is in response to restrictions on grant money put in place a year ago by the U.S. Attorney General.
“From now on, the Department will only provide Byrne JAG grants to cities and states that comply with federal law, allow federal immigration access to detention facilities, and provide 48 hours notice before they release an illegal alien wanted by federal authorities,” Sessions said in a statement after issuing the requirements.
In the suit, the plaintiffs claim that the conditions placed on Byrne grant money will “force cities into becoming the deportation arm of the federal government.”
As a condition of receiving Byrne JAG funds, the Department of Justice requires that:
- Cities give the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), which includes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), 48 hours’ notice, or at least as much notice “as
practicable” prior to releasing any alien in custody to allow ICE to take custody of that individual
(the “notice condition”);
- Cities give DHS officials unlimited access to local law enforcement facilities to interrogate any suspected non-citizen held there, effectively federalizing city facilities (the “access condition”);
- The chief legal officer of each local government must certify compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373 (“Section 1373”), a federal statute that purports to bar local governments from restricting the sharing of immigration status information with the federal government (the “compliance condition”)
Those three conditions, added almost a year ago, basically nullify any sanctuary policies put in place by activist pro-open borders officials at state and local levels, but they hardly turn city offices into a “deportation arm.” Removal proceedings and deportation would occur through federal agencies, local officials just have to inform ICE of an arrested illegal alien then let those agents do their jobs. Those jurisdictions can also choose to not apply for the grant money if they wish to keep their anti-American policies in place.
“So-called ‘sanctuary’ policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “These policies also encourage illegal immigration and even human trafficking by perpetuating the lie that in certain cities, illegal aliens can live outside the law.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel (D) said that the DOJ is “on the wrong side of history” calling the Department’s requirements “reactionary.”
“We applaud the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the City of Evanston for standing united in the legal fight against the administration’s unconstitutional attempt to impose their reactionary ideology on local governments,” Emanuel said. “Chicago is proud to stand with them, and stand up for our values as a welcoming city to immigrants and refugees from around the world.”
Sanctuary policies harbor dangerous criminals and force federal law enforcement to go after them in the streets which is much more dangerous than just picking them up from jail. Just last week, federal agents had to re-arrest 16 criminal aliens who had been in a New Jersey jail, ICE had issued a detainer and they were released anyway.
The operation targeted aliens who were previously incarcerated at the Middlesex County Jail (MCJ), and who were subsequently released to the community by MCJ, without honoring the ICE detainers or advising ICE of their release.
Many of those released by the Middlesex County authorities had committed serious crimes such as aggravated criminal sexual contact, aggravated assault, hindering apprehension, endangering the welfare of a child, battery, theft, burglary, possession of a weapon, forgery, and domestic violence assault.