With a rising level of violence and urban decay plaguing Chicago, you’d think Mayor Rahm Emanuel would be working overtime to police his city. More than 400 homicides have been recorded there so far this year, more than New York and Los Angeles combined.
Mayor Emanuel should be using all available resources to protect Chicago’s law-abiding residents from the violent crime. Instead of doing his duty, Mayor Emanuel has decided to sue the Trump administration by filing a 46-page lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Mayor Emanuel wants a federal judge to stop Sessions from withholding federal grants from sanctuary cities. But a federal law (8 U.S. Code Section 1373) provides that no State or local government may “prohibit, or in any way restrict” its officials, including the police, from providing the federal government with information regarding the citizenship or immigration status of persons they have in custody or even at a brief traffic stop.
Mayor Emanuel’s lawsuit claims that the federal government has to abide by something called the Welcoming City Ordinance, which was announced by previous Chicago mayors in 1985 and 1989 and then passed by the city council in 2006 and 2012. Someone should remind the mayor that he took an oath to support the U.S. Constitution, which provides for the supremacy of federal law over local ordinances.
Justice Department lawyers will respond to Mayor Emanuel’s lawsuit in due course, but the attorney general is not backing down. “No amount of federal taxpayer dollars will help a city that refuses to help its own residents,” Jeff Sessions said in a statement.
“To a degree perhaps unsurpassed by any other jurisdiction, the political leadership of Chicago has chosen deliberately and intentionally to adopt a policy that obstructs this country’s lawful immigration system,” Sessions added.
Thomas Homan, the no-nonsense head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), spoke out against Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia as cities that harbor illegal immigrants. “Sanctuary cities, in my opinion, are un-American,” he said in a recent interview.
“In the last year, I’ve read all these stories of how the crime rate has exploded in Chicago, and the president’s trying to help them. We’re stepping up our game in Chicago. Is Chicago doing everything that it can to decrease the criminal activity up there? I say no,” Homan said.
“I say no because if you’re an illegal alien, and you get arrested in the United States for a crime, and you get booked in Cook County, Chicago, my officers aren’t allowed in the jail. They don’t accept our detainers. They don’t share information with us,” he said.
“Why would Cook County not want my officers, federal law enforcement officers, to go talk to somebody that committed yet another crime against the citizens of this country? It’s ludicrous,” the acting head of ICE continued.
“These jurisdictions, these cities, are choosing to shield people who violated the laws of this country. So, what’s next? Sanctuary cities for people who don’t want to pay their taxes?”
San Francisco became America’s best-known sanctuary city when Kate Steinle was shot and killed there on July 1, 2015 by an illegal immigrant who was released from custody by the sheriff despite 7 felony convictions and 5 orders of deportation. In accordance with a city ordinance, the sheriff refused to honor a detainer from ICE so federal officials could intercept Juan Francisco López-Sánchez while he was in custody.
A few months after Kate Steinle’s preventable death, another illegal immigrant, Pedro Figueroa-Zarceno was in police custody for an outstanding warrant. Perhaps because outrage over Kate Steinle’s unnecessary death was bringing unwanted attention to San Francisco, this time the police turned the alien over to federal authorities for deportation to El Salvador.
Like many people who were ordered deported, Pedro didn’t actually go home when ordered to do so. He remained in San Francisco while continuing to resist deportation, and in 2016 his next hearing was scheduled for 2019.
Last week, the San Francisco city attorney announced an agreement to settle a lawsuit by paying Pedro $190,000. So the illegal immigrant not only gets to stay, but if the city council approves the settlement, he’ll also get a lump sum from the taxpayers to enjoy life while waiting for his deportation hearing.
Seattle is another sanctuary city where local officials have joined the resistance against federal immigration laws, but that may change following a horrible crime committed in a Seattle suburb by a so-called Dreamer. Salvador Diaz-Garcia is accused of brutally attacking and raping a 19-year-old woman while she was on the treadmill of the gym in her apartment complex.
The crime occurred in the small suburb of Burien, which had its own sanctuary policy, but residents there are up in arms. Following a petition signed by 3,600 of Burien’s 33,000 residents, the city council has just voted 6-1 to allow the voters in November to decide whether to repeal the sanctuary ordinance.
John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) whose 27th book, The Conservative Case for Trump, was published posthumously on September 6.