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Rahm Praises Order Blocking Trump From Cutting Off Aid To Sanctuary Cities

By Heather Cherone | April 25, 2017 5:49pm | Updated on April 28, 2017 11:15am
 Chicago will remain a sanctuary city despite President-elect Donald Trump's promise to withhold federal funds from cities that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Sunday in a statement.
Chicago will remain a sanctuary city despite President-elect Donald Trump's promise to withhold federal funds from cities that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Sunday in a statement.
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DNAinfo/Lizzie Schiffman

CHICAGO — Mayor Rahm Emanuel said a judge's order Tuesday afternoon stopping the Trump administration from yanking federal funds from sanctuary cities like Chicago proves the city was right to stand up to the president.

"The Trump administration’s attempt to coerce cities to choose between our most basic values and federal funding was not only bad public policy, we now have further proof that it was unconstitutional," Emanuel said after the order.

The mayor added that "throughout our history immigrants, refugees and dreamers from around the world have moved our country and our city forward, and we will not sit idly by while President Trump threatens American cities because he doesn't share our values."

District Court Judge William H. Orrick in San Francisco Tuesday afternoon issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the Trump administration, directing it to stop trying to cut off aid to sanctuary jurisdictions like Chicago and Cook County.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions took the first step to strip Chicago of federal funding Friday, asserting that Chicago is "crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime."

However, the judge's order — which said the executive order signed Jan. 25 featured "broad and threatening language" — does not stop the federal government from enforcing existing conditions on federal law enforcement grants.

The judge's order found that Sessions and other federal officials had "impermissibly" threatened so-called sanctuary cities like Chicago with the loss of all federal grants.

That compromises cities' "ability to operate, to provide key services, to plan for the future, and to budget,” the judge wrote.

Other Chicago politicians also praised the judge's order, including U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Chicago.)

"This discriminatory and dangerous order does not keep American safe; it merely perpetuates prejudices and fuels fear," Quigley said in a statement.

Trump criticized the ruling Wednesday morning in a series of tweets.

Despite the president's statement, the judge who ruled on Trump's sanctuary city ban is not a member of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which reviews decisions made by district court judges. Appeals court decisions can be appealed to the Supreme Court.

A statement from the White House also criticized the judge's decision, calling it "yet one more example of egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge.”

The White House also said sanctuary cities like Chicago "are putting the well-being of criminal aliens before the safety of our citizens, and those city officials who authored these policies have the blood of dead Americans on their hands."

Emanuel has repeatedly said that Chicago officials will not cooperate with federal immigration officials and will protect undocumented immigrants despite the threats from Trump.

A statement from the Department of Justice warned Chicago Friday that it would lose $2.3 million used to fight crime — unless it stopped protecting undocumented immigrants.

Federal officials warned that Chicago and Cook County could lose access to the Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, which is the leading source of federal funding for state and local law enforcement agencies.

In 2016, Chicago got $2.3 million through the grant, which was expanded by the Obama Administration to allow cities to purchase body cameras after a series of fatal encounters between police officers and unarmed civilians. The city got about the same amount from the grant in 2015, city records show.

City officials had expected to get $3.2 million in 2017 from the grant named fof New York Police Officer Edward Byrne, who was slain on duty in 1988, said Molly Poppe, a spokeswoman for Emanuel.

In addition, the city had been counting on $7.5 million in law enforcement grants from the Department of Justice, Poppe said. The city also has $4-5 million left over from previous years' grants that has yet to be spent, she added.