The announcement was released Friday, August 4, that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel would be filing a federal lawsuit on behalf of Chicago against the Department of Justice (DOJ), claiming it is illegal for the Trump administration to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities.
Mayor Emanuel is going to battle over the potential loss of $3.2 million in grant money – even though the funds have not yet even been applied for, and have not yet been denied by the DOJ.
Emanuel stated on Friday: “We are not going to be between picking our values of who we are as a welcoming city and strengthening our police department. We’re not going to actually auction off our values as a city. So, Monday morning, the City of Chicago is going to court; we’re going to take the Justice Department to court based on this. We find it unlawful and unconstitutional to be, as a city, coerced on a policy.”
A report released Tuesday by the Chicago Sun Times claims that Emanuel has actually been plotting to make the most of the sanctuary city issue, bringing that to the forefront in a carefully planned campaign in order to divert attention away from the more-critical issue of the escalating crime in the city that has gotten completely out of control.
Fran Spielman of the Sun Times asks why Emanuel “play[ed] the media like a fiddle by dribbling out details of the lawsuit over a three-day period,” and wonders, “Why do the mayor’s own private emails expose his attempts to use his pro-immigration stance to shore up a national media image that took a beating” after a Chicago police officer killed a black teenager in November 2015.
Putting the focus on the sanctuary city issue “gives the mayor a soapbox on which to stand to proclaim himself as a national champion on an immigration issue that has haunted him throughout his political career,” Spielman stated, noting that if he chooses to run for re-election, he will likely need a large chunk of the Hispanic vote to counteract the loss of support from the African-American community.
Emanuel’s private emails reveal he has been orchestrating a campaign to direct the focus to the sanctuary city issue for some time, the Sun Times reported.
In late May, he reportedly sent emails to “movers and shakers” in the national media, outlining a campaign he had devised called “One Chicago” to “showcase the city’s diversity.”
In an email to George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Emanuel wrote, “I wanted to put this on your radar,” stating that he has “heard the constant voice of immigrant and minority communities” over their “anxiety and alarm about the rhetoric and policies coming from the Trump administration.”
Emails were also sent to The Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, The Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg, The New York Times’ Carl Hulse and David Brooks, and Mark Halperin of Bloomberg and MSNBC, the Chicago Sun Times reported. The mayor’s pitch included the following:
“Today, I launched a new public facing campaign . . . to shine the light on our values of tolerance and respect for dignity. The goal is to counter the negative rhetoric against immigrants and remind residents that we are united as one people. . . . Hoping to talk with you about the campaign in more detail if you are interested.”
The Sun Times’ editorial noted that Emanuel’s lawsuit now promises to be a “welcome diversion” from the more pressing problems in Chicago. “Instead of being asked about the rising homicide rate, the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools or the hundreds of employees that the city’s school district has laid off, Emanuel can talk about standing toe-to-toe with Trump and Sessions,” Spielman wrote.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions responded to Chicago’s lawsuit with a statement Monday, saying, “This administration will not simply give away grant dollars to city governments that proudly violate the rule of law and protect criminal aliens at the expense of public safety. So, it’s this simple: Comply with the law or forego taxpayer dollars.”
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