Chicago, a sanctuary city, is challenging the Trump Administration’s ability to deny it needed law enforcement funds.

The battle between the Administration and sanctuary localities began in April, when a federal judge blocked a part of President Donald Trump’s Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States Executive Order that directed government agencies to generally deny federal funding to sanctuary jurisdictions.  The judge, however, made clear that its injunction did not prevent the Department of Justice from enforcing statutes – particularly 8 U.S.C. Section 1373. Under Section 1373, “a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.” Compliance with this statute now is a specific term of Byrne JAG grants. JAG grants provide states and localities funding to support a broad range of law enforcement initiatives.

Chicago received $2.3 million in Byrne funding last year and has applied this year for more. It uses the funding to purchase vehicles and SWAT equipment. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel announced that Chicago was challenging the Administration’s ability to force compliance with Section 1373 by withholding funding for law enforcement initiatives. The City is seeking preliminary injunction to prevent the Attorney General from imposing “unauthorized and unconstitutional conditions” on Byrne funding. The Mayor said the City “will not be blackmailed into changing our values, and we are and will remain a welcoming City.”  In other words, Chicago will not agree to allow DHS unlimited access to law-enforcement facilities and will not hold people in jail for an additional 48 hours at the request of ICE, because these actions would be contrary to Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance. Chicago’s history with the sanctuary movement began in 1982, when the Wellington Avenue Church decided to become part of the movement.

Emanuel further stated:

The federal government should be working with cities to provide necessary resources to improve public safety, not concocting new schemes to reduce our crime fighting resources. The City of Chicago will continue to stand up to President Trump and his Justice Department to ensure that their misguided policies do not threaten the safety of our residents.

Attorney General Sessions responded:

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. They have demonstrated an open hostility to enforcing laws designed to protect law enforcement . . . and reduce crime, and instead have adopted an official policy of protecting criminal aliens who prey on their own residents.

Chicago is the first city to file a suit over the terms of the Byrne funding, but California has also filed a similar suit. The California legislature also is considering a bill, the California Values Act, which would further curtail local cooperation with federal immigration agents.

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Photo of Forrest G. Read IV Forrest G. Read IV

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice…

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. He has broad experience in advising large, mid-size and small employers on their various immigration needs and developing strategies to help them navigate through complex immigration issues. He also has particular experience in counseling employers in the health care industry and addressing immigration-related issues that arise for their broad range of health care professional employees (including advising on and obtaining employment authorization for medical residents and fellows and obtaining J-1 visa waivers for foreign national physicians completing their medical training in the United States). His immigration practice also includes defending employers in connection with Department of Labor H-1B and H-2B investigations.

Mr. Read’s employment law experience includes representing management, particularly academic medical centers in the GME context, in a wide array of workplace disputes and litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including matters related to discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability, family and medical leave, various wage and hour issues, contracts, and intentional torts. He advises academic medical centers on the interplay between applicable academic law and employment law and the ramifications of what are divergent legal requirements and standards. Mr. Read also provides counsel with respect to the legal impact of competency standards for residents and trainees in GME, including situations involving discipline, remediation, and dismissal. He provides advice and guidance in the peer review process, including provision of verification and assessment of training in response to third party inquiries.

As a member of the Firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling group, Mr. Read also has experience in providing assessments and making recommendations to corporate and institutional clients with respect to diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives, conducting related internal investigations, and shaping, developing and enforcing effective policies and initiatives to ensure consistency with client values and in furtherance of business goals and objectives.