Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been fighting for the city to remain a “sanctuary city” despite the threats from President Trump’s administration to cut federal grant funding.
He recently filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to retain the right to protect undocumented immigrants and keep the “values” of the Chicago Police Department. According to Fox News, retired Chicago police sergeant Peter Koconis says it’s “all a political ploy. He needs the votes.”
Emanuel’s lawsuit seeks to override Trump’s new policies that would see the city lose its federal grant funding if it fails to assist in deportation efforts, notify ICE of criminals with undocumented statuses, and other actions, as reported by Reuters.
After filing the lawsuit, Emanuel stated it was because “We want you to come to Chicago if you believe in the American dream. By forcing us, or the police department, to choose between the values of the city and the philosophy of the police department, in community policing, I think it’s a false choice and undermines our actual safety agenda.”
Yet former police sergeant Koconis, says Emanuel’s resistance is more about getting votes than anything else.
This seems supported by Emanuel’s statements in a memo during the Clinton administration advocating “record deportations of criminal aliens.” In the memo he spoke of how cracking down on undocumented immigration would make Democrats look better on criminal justice policies.
The New York Times reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was extremely critical of Emanuel’s lawsuit and the support he’s received from other Chicago officials, saying, “They have demonstrated an open hostility to enforcing laws designed to protect law enforcement – federal, state and local – and reduce crime, and instead have adopted an official policy of protecting criminal aliens who prey on their own residents.”
He went on to ridicule the officials for believing their actions to protect undocumented immigrants would improve Chicago’s rising violent crime rates. “The city’s leaders cannot follow some laws and ignore others and reasonably expect this horrific situation to improve.”
According to Reuters, Sessions is doubling down on his efforts to deny federal grant funding to the city until it removes the lawsuit and works to deport illegal criminal immigrants. “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,” he said.
Unfortunately, the issue is a double-edged sword and both proposed solutions have downsides. The Trump administration believes cracking down on unlawful immigration and improving deportation rates would remove many of the criminals here illegally and make cities safer.
Supporters, like Emanuel, of sanctuary cities believe the crackdown on undocumented immigrants would make them afraid to come forward and report crimes or stand as witnesses as it could lead to their own deportation. Violence could become worse as crimes go unreported and locals stop working with law enforcement.
Yet this issue would be irrelevant if what Koconis said about Emanuel proves to be true. If the mayor is revealed to only be pushing the lawsuit to retain and garner votes, it would speak volumes about his true character and would spoil his image before Chicago residents.
No one would want a mayor who puts his own citizens in jeopardy in order to win re-election.