Despite Sanctuary City Defunding, Mayor Emanuel Stands Strong

(ESPAÑOL) “We’re gonna stay a sanctuary city,” Emanuel said in a news conference after Wednesday’s City Council meeting. “There is no stranger among us. We welcome people, whether you’re from Poland or Pakistan, whether you’re from Ireland or India or Israel and whether you’re from Mexico or Moldova, where my grandfather came from, you are welcome in Chicago as you pursue the American Dream.”

Trump ordered Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to work with incoming Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ensure sanctuary cities “are not eligible to receive federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes.” The order states Kelly and Sessions should strip the funding that is within their discretion and consistent with the law. It also directs incoming Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to tabulate how much federal grant money is received by each of the country’s sanctuary cities.

Cutting off all federal funding to sanctuary cities would require action by the Republican-controlled Congress. Last year, Chicago received a little more than $1 billion in federal grant funding for myriad programs, including early childhood education, transportation, policing, health initiatives, public assistance programs and disaster management. It’s unknown how much of that $1 billion could be deemed necessary for law enforcement, as laid out by Trump’s order.

The city, however, does receive millions under the jurisdiction of the attorney general through the Justice Department. Justice officials issued a report last year that stated Chicago could stand to lose nearly $29 million in annual agency grants if it were to be found in violation of federal laws on detaining people to be turned over to immigration agents for possible deportation.

“Federal agencies are going to unapologetically enforce that law, no ifs ands or buts,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a briefing with reporters. “We’re going to strip federal grant money from the sanctuary states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants. The American people are no longer going to have to be forced to subsidize this disregard for our laws.”

Emanuel’s public statements reaffirming Chicago’s sanctuary city status have come as the mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and other major cities have done the same since Trump’s election.