The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Chicago To Sue Justice Department For Threatening To Withhold Funds From Sanctuary Cities: Reports

By Mae Rice in News on Aug 4, 2017 9:45PM

Rahm Emanuel / Getty Images / Photo: Scott Olson

Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to sue the federal government over the Justice Department's threats to cut off funds to Chicago and other sanctuary cities, which help protect undocumented residents, the Tribune reports.

"We find it unlawful and unconstitutional to be, as a city, coerced on a policy," Emanuel said during an as-yet unreleased interview with "Connected to Chicago" on WLS radio-890.

Chicago got roughly $24.5 million from the Justice Department last fiscal year, but the specific funding at odds in Emanuel's suit will be Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, the Tribune reports.

In late July, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he would withhold these grants from sanctuary cities, which he said "make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws."

Chicago expects roughly $3.2 million from Byrne grants this year, the Tribune reports, which amounts to less than one percent of the city's total budget—so this is more a defense of sanctuary cities in principle than Chicago's finances. The grants typically go towards new police cars, the Tribune reports.

The city plans to go to court over the issue on Monday, contesting Sessions' power to withhold the grant.

Emanuel's not the only one who thinks Chicago has a case here. In a recent piece, Slate's Mark Joseph Stern deemed Sessions' latest stand against sanctuary cities "probably illegal."