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Chicago Is Suing the Trump Administration Over Threats to Withhold Sanctuary City Funding

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Sunday the city would sue the administration of President Donald Trump in the wake of threats to withhold millions of dollars in federal grants from so-called sanctuary cities.

Reuters reports that Chicago stands to lose $3.2 million worth of funding as a result of the Justice Department barring cities who do not co-operate with immigration agents — including by allowing them unfettered access to their jails — from receiving Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants.

Hundreds of American cities currently benefit from the grants, which provide federal criminal justice funding for equipment and law enforcement training.

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

Read more: New Justice Department Rules Crack Down on Sanctuary Cities

Emanuel added that the federal lawsuit seeks to prevent the Trump administration from setting a precedent that could be used to target other types of funding.

Chicago’s lawsuit is the first of its kind to challenge the Justice Department’s new Byrne program policy, according to Reuters, though other cities may soon follow suit. California Attorney General is reportedly mulling similar legal action.



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Write to Joseph Hincks at joseph.hincks@time.com