Ensuring the safety and security of our communities
WASHINGTON – The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in City of Chicago v. Sessions, the federal government’s appeal of a court injunction against Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions seeks to withhold certain federal funds from sanctuary cities as a means to influence them to stop interfering with federal immigration law enforcement.
Chicago’s sanctuary ordinances are particularly extreme. One forbids city officials from telling ICE agents, when asked, when illegal aliens in city jails are scheduled to be released. Even more egregiously, another ordinance forbids ICE agents from entering city jails to interview illegal-alien detainees. IRLI argues in its brief that both forms of interference with federal enforcement efforts violate the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, under which laws passed by Congress trump state or local laws.
“Immigration is uniquely a federal responsibility, a part of this nation’s foreign policy,” explained Christopher Hajec, IRLI’s director of litigation. “When cities purposely hinder federal officers in their enforcement of immigration laws, they violate the Constitution in a very basic way. By blocking ICE agents from their jails, they even set up the possibility of armed confrontation,” Hajec observed. “As the Supreme Court held long ago, such confrontations are ruled out by the Supremacy Clause.”
IRLI has been at the forefront of the sanctuary city issue, filing a lawsuit this week against the City of Gary, Indiana, challenging its sanctuary city ordinances. IRLI has also submitted briefs in numerous other sanctuary cases.
“Not only are Chicago’s sanctuary policies dangerous,” commented Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s executive director and general counsel, “they are a systematic effort by those on one side of a policy debate to thwart the will of the American people – which is that immigration laws should be enforced – and make America speak with a divided voice on the world stage. States may aid federal immigration enforcement, under federal leadership,” Wilcox added. “In no way can they block federal agents from doing their jobs because they don’t like the law that is being enforced.”
The case is City of Chicago v. Sessions, No. 17-2991 (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit).
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