On August 4, the Justice Department acknowledged that Miami-Dade county is now cooperating with federal immigration law, having reversed a previous policy that failed to honor requests by immigration officials. Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions heaped praise on the county, and called out a major city that remains out of compliance. (VIDEO BELOW)
While at at the Port of Miami in South Florida, AG Sessions commended Miami-Dade county for their professionalism and for putting the needs of U.S. citizens first.
“Your success is even more remarkable since violent crime is surging in most places across the country,” Sessions said. He applauded the county for reducing violent crime through “hard work, professional policing and a re-dedication to the rule of law.”
He once again confirmed that Miami-Dade county has proven to the DOJ that it is now in “full compliance” with federal immigration law.
Sessions then called out Chicago, noting that Miami-Dade had no shootings over July 4th weekend, but Chicago had more than 100. He explained why he is threatening the nearly $2.3 million in justice assistance (JAG) grants to the city.
Sessions said Chicago is setting a “sad example” of how “respect for the rule of law has broken down.” According to city policy, Sessions explained, police must “release the criminal alien back into the community without regard to the seriousness of the crime or how long the rap sheet.”
“These predators thrive when crime is not met with consequences,” Sessions said. “This state of lawlessness allows gangs to smuggle guns, drugs, and even humans across borders and around cities and communities. Sanctuary jurisdictions provide safe harbor for some of the most dangerous criminals in our country.”
Last year, Chicago used their JAG to purchase SWAT equipment, police vehicles, radios, and stun guns. Sessions made it clear that he supports local police, and doesn’t want to damage the department. But because of city leader’s sanctuary policies that “tie our police officers hands” and endanger federal immigration officers, the JAG money is on the line.
“[We] cannot continue giving federal taxpayer money to cities that actively undermine the safety and efficacy of federal law enforcement and actively frustrate efforts to reduce crime in their cities,” Sessions said. “So if voters in Chicago are concerned about losing federal grant money, call your mayor.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department for its policy to withhold the grants. Along with other city officials, Emanuel filed the suit last week, saying, “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.”
Emanuel said it is “unlawful and unconstitutional” to be coerced on a “policy.”
Sessions immediately responded to the lawsuit, saying, “No amount of federal taxpayer dollars will help a city that refuses to help its own residents.”
Wednesday, Sessions denounced Emanuel’s lawsuit again.
“Rather than acknowledge soaring murder counts or the heartbreaking stories told by victims’ families, Chicago’s mayor has chosen to sue the federal government. He complains that our focus on enforcing the law would require a ‘reordering of law enforcement practice in [the city]. That’s exactly the point.”
Then, Sessions made an appeal to Chicago’s leaders.
“For the sake of their city, Chicago’s leaders need to recommit to policies that punish criminals instead of protecting them,” Sessions said.
Emanuel was quick to respond. In a statement, he said Chicago will continue it’s sanctuary policy and that they won’t “cave to the Trump administration’s pressure.” He said the administration is morally, factually, and legally wrong.
“In a week in which the Trump Administration is being forced to answer questions about neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the KKK,” Emanuel said in his statement, “they could have not picked a worse time to resume their attack on the immigrants who see America as a beacon of hope.”
Last month, Sessions announced that sanctuary cities must give federal immigration authorities access to jail and they must contact immigration authorities when an illegal alien facing deportation is scheduled to be released from custody. If they do not do these things, they will no longer receive the grants.
Prior to Sessions’ new rules, sanctuary cities seeking grant money needed only to show that they weren’t stopping local law enforcement from communicating with immigration and customs officials. San Francisco and other cities have joined Chicago in suing the Justice Department for the new guidelines.
In Florida Wednesday, Sessions praised Gimenez for Miami-Dade’s compliance. “It means more money for crime fighting. And it means we are partners in keeping everyone here safe,” he said.
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