Chicago to Sue Trump Administration Over Sanctuary City Funding Threats

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 26: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks during a press conference to announce the use of a mobile ballistics lab being operated by the Bureau of Alcohol Tabaco and Firearms (ATF) in Chicago to help process ballistic evidence at crime scenes on June 26, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The city of Chicago typically leads the nations in shooting and gun related homicides. This year the city has had about 300 people killed and more than 1700 wounded by gunfire. On June 1, a task force was formed by the Chicago police, Illinois state police and the ATF to combat the gun violence in the city. ATF has formed similar task forces on a temporary basis to fight regional spikes in gun violence. Chicago's task force is the only one in the nation formed with the idea to be permanent. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago announced on Sunday that the city will be suing the Trump administration over threats to withhold public safety grant money from "sanctuary cities."

The lawsuit is in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' announcement that the Justice Department will strip cities of federal funding unless they agree to allow immigration authorities unlimited access to jails and to provide 48 hours' notice before releasing anyone wanted for immigration violations. This in itself was a response to the growing movement of local cities and governments, including Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, declaring "sanctuary" to illegal immigrants.

"Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate," said Emanuel at a news conference. "Chicago will not let our residents have their fundamental rights isolated and violated. And Chicago will never relinquish our status as a welcoming city."

Chicago had expected to receive $3.2 million this year from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants, and had planned to devote most of the funding to police vehicles. The lawsuit contends that the U.S. government cannot "commandeer local law enforcement to carry out federal immigration law functions."