Sessions rips 'culture of lawlessness' in Chicago

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) SessionsFBI opens tip line requesting information on Charlottesville rally Sessions rails against Chicago during visit to Miami DOJ warrant of Trump resistance site triggers alarm MORE blasted back Monday against a lawsuit from Chicago, warning the Justice Department will withdraw criminal justice funding unless the city ends its "culture of lawlessness" and complies with federal immigration mandates.

“This administration will not simply give away grant dollars to city governments that proudly violate the rule of law and protect criminal aliens at the expense of public safety. So it’s this simple: Comply with the law or forego taxpayer dollars," Sessions said.

Behind Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago on Monday filed a lawsuit against the federal government challenging the Justice Department's attempt to hold back money from local law enforcement under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program.

The Justice Department says it will not give the grant money to so-called sanctuary cities like Chicago that refuse full compliance with federal immigration policies.  

“No amount of federal taxpayer dollars will help a city that refuses to help its own residents," Sessions said in a statement. 

“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," he added.

The city of Chicago argues the funding threat from the Justice Department is unconstitutional and is asking a federal judge to intervene.

"These new conditions — which would give federal officials the power to enter city facilities and interrogate arrestees at will and would force the city to detain individuals longer than justified by probable cause, solely to permit federal officials to investigate their immigration status — are unauthorized and unconstitutional," the lawsuit states, according to the Chicago Tribune.

President Trump has often portrayed Chicago as a poster child for out-of-control crime. Last month, he tweeted that killings in the city had reached "epidemic proportions."

Sessions, who has established a "Chicago Gun Strike Force" to address violence in the city, on Monday said Chicago has "adopted an official policy of protecting criminal aliens who prey on their own residents."

“The Mayor complains that the federal government’s focus on enforcing the law would require a ‘reordering of law enforcement practice in Chicago.’ But that’s just what Chicago needs: a recommitment to the rule of law and to policies that rollback the culture of lawlessness that has beset the city," he said.