U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday that Chicago’s sanctuary policies are an example of disrespect for the rule of law.
The comments came during a speech in Miami where Sessions vowed to continue fighting cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities. He urged so-called “sanctuary cities” to follow Miami-Dade County’s example and reverse policies he said hamper immigration enforcement.
Sessions aimed much of his frustration at Chicago, which last week sued President Donald Trump’s administration for denying federal grant money to cities that don’t share information with immigration officials.
“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,” Sessions said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Wednesday that the Trump administration is “wrong morally, wrong factually, and wrong legally” for threatening to end funding for cities that refuse to share information with federal immigration authorities.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has said he wants “officers focused on community policing and not trying to be the immigration police.”
Sessions applauded Miami-Dade’s decision to comply with Trump’s immigration orders by forcing county officials earlier this year to hold people in jail for extra time if immigration authorities requested. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez reversed a 2013 policy that refused such requests unless the federal government committed to pay for jail costs. In justifying the decision, the Republican mayor said he didn’t want to risk losing federal funding.
Sessions also contrasted Miami-Dade and Chicago’s crime statistics, and he accused Chicago of failing to solve many of its homicides.
“Respect for the rule of law has broken down. In Chicago, their so-called ‘sanctuary’ policies are one sad example,” he said.
While Sessions called Miami-Dade a “good” example of a city in compliance, when compared to 2016 numbers, the county’s police department has reported a 3 percent increase in violent crime, including 17 percent more homicides between January and early August.