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Jordan Candler / Aug. 7, 2017

Rahm Emanuel's Absurd Lawsuit Against the DOJ

The bottom line is that Chicago's sanctuary city lawsuit stinks of political shenanigans.

Chicago mayor and former Barack Obama lackey Rahm Emanuel is challenging the Justice Department’s new funding protocols for sanctuary cities. Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions explained of the change: “From now on, the Department will only provide Byrne JAG grants to cities and states that comply with federal law, allow federal immigration access to detention facilities, and provide 48 hours notice before they release an illegal alien wanted by federal authorities.” This amendment puts some Chicago funding at risk because Emanuel isn’t interested in actually enforcing the law.

Emanuel’s recalcitrance is ridiculous from the standpoint that so little money is actually involved. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Byrne Justice Assistance Grants provide a relatively minuscule amount of money to Chicago. The city this year is counting on $3.2 million from the program, money mostly used to buy police vehicles. The grants amount to roughly three-hundredths of 1 percent of the entire $9.8 billion city budget.” Considering the city’s $9.8 billion budget, $3.2 million is chump change and hardly worth fighting over. But this is Illinois, where onerous spending has left the state sitting on a fiscal landmine.

Not to mention that Sessions’ new mandates are hardly extraneous. The bottom line is that Emmanuel’s lawsuit stinks of political shenanigans. As the Tribune adds: “The lawsuit [is] a relatively low-stakes gambit with some political upside for Emanuel as he courts support from Latinos, who are deeply concerned about the Trump administration’s immigration policies. The lawsuit also could affirm Emanuel’s profile among big-city mayors pushing back against Trump policies.” That, more than protecting his own city from illegal immigrants, is what’s important to Mayor Emanuel.

The fact of the matter is that Trump’s DOJ has ample legal backing. So Emanuel shouldn’t be surprised that the DOJ isn’t budging on its threat. Spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores retorted, “In 2016, more Chicagoans were murdered than in New York City and Los Angeles combined. So it’s especially tragic that the mayor is less concerned with that staggering figure than he is spending time and taxpayer money protecting criminal aliens and putting Chicago’s law enforcement at greater risk.” Assuming the Rule of Law prevails in the courts, Emanuel’s lawsuit will be tossed. This infatuation with political theater is one of the many reasons Chicago is the only major U.S. city whose population is dropping.

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