- Chicago's Mayor has instructed the Chicago Police Department to stop cooperating with ICE.
- Illinois' Governor has signed a law making it illegal for local law enforcement to cooperate with ICE.
- Both Chicago and Illinois rely on federal funding for a significant part of their budgets.
It’s no secret that Chicago is proud of their sanctuary city status and their lack of cooperation with the Trump Administration. With the election of Lori Lightfoot as mayor, it became clear that Chicago will continue down the path of presidential defiance and migrant protection.
Lightfoot recently addressed the issue of illegal immigration, saying that the Chicago Police Department would not cooperate with President’s Trump’s planned ICE raids that will target over 2,000 families in 10 cities.
Lightfoot also terminated ICE’s access to Chicago PD’s database regarding federal immigration enforcement. In a statement Lightfoot specifically addressed the President saying “We are all aware of the threat from President Trump regarding raids by ICE, and in response, Chicago has taken concrete steps to support our immigrant communities.” She went on to say “Chicago will always be a welcoming city and a champion for the rights of our immigrant and refugee communities.”
The illegal immigrants that ICE was targeting have exhausted their legal remedies and are under court order to leave the country.
Governor J.B. Pritzker, Illinois’ current governor, is taking similar steps, signing two bills making it illegal for local law enforcement to work with ICE and for groups to erect migrant detention centers in Illinois. It has become clear that both the governments of Chicago and Illinois have decided to act in direct defiance of the Trump administration (and federal law) regarding immigration enforcement.
Despite not wanting to cooperate with a federal law enforcement agency, Mayor Lightfoot and Governor Pritzker have no problem taking federal money. Over a quarter of Illinois’ state budget is made up of federal funding and the city of Chicago receives almost $1.5 billion every year in federal funding.
Although Chicago and Illinois refuse to cooperate with the federal government, they need their money. This is most likely the reason that President Trump has threatened to pull federal funding from sanctuary cities on multiple occasions. On January 25, 2017 the President signed an executive order titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.” The executive order stated that cities and states who would not comply with immigration enforcement measures would not receive federal funding.
Despite this, the President does not actually have the power to pull federal funding, except under very extreme circumstances, and even then the constitutionality of it is questionable. For federal funding to be taken away from states and cities, Congressional legislation is required, and the legality of it can still be challenged in the courts.
The President may not be able to pull Chicago’s and Illinois funding with a snap of his fingers, but Lightfoot and Pritzker are still playing a dangerous game.