Attorney General Jeff Sessions blasted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D.) on Monday, saying that Chicago is "refusing to help its own residents."
Sessions' statement was in response to a lawsuit, initiated earlier on Monday, in which Emanuel and the city of Chicago challenged the Justice Department's attempt to withhold funds from police departments which refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials.
"Chicago is a welcoming city and always will be, and we will not be blackmailed by President Trump's Justice Department," Emanuel said in a statement announcing the suit. "Forcing us to choose between our values and our police department's philosophy of community policing is a false choice, and it is a choice that would ultimately undermines our public safety agenda."
But, Sessions retorted, the lawsuit actually represented a failure on the part of the city of Chicago and Emanuel's administration.
"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," Sessions said. "They have demonstrated an open hostility to enforcing laws designed to protect law enforcement — federal, state, and local — and reduce crime, and instead have 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.
Cracking down on sanctuary cities, which refuse to enforce federal immigration law, has been a major priority of the Sessions Justice Department. In July, at a speech in Philadelphia, the attorney general attacked such cities, which he said give sanctuary "not to their law-abiding residents; they are giving sanctuary to criminals."