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Department of Justice Under Fire for Attacking Immigrants; ACLU and Chicago Fight Back

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As Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice (DOJ) advances a thinly veiled, bigoted agenda, cities and organizations are fighting back against the Administration’s mass deportation policies.

The DOJ is facing scrutiny from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed open records request yesterday with the federal government seeking any communications between state and federal government officials — including the office of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the White House, and the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — pertaining to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The ACLU wants to see if the states have colluded with Sessions to end DACA.

As Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy and campaigns at the ACLU, told Buzzfeed:

It would be very telling if there was in fact communication between the attorneys general offices and the Trump administration because it would show there’s a coordinated attack against DACA and that they are trying to subvert Trump, who said DACA recipients should ‘rest easy.’

The requests were filed nationally and in the ten states leading the latest attack on the DACA program.

Chicago sues Administration

Meanwhile, the city of Chicago filed a lawsuit this week against the DOJ arguing that the administration’s attempt to withhold federal funding from ‘sanctuary cities’ is illegal. Jeff Sessions has repeatedly tried to bring down sanctuary cities during his tenure, and recently announced that starting next year, cities that want to continue receiving federal funds for law enforcement will have to follow three anti-immigrant stipulations. Courts, however, have repeatedly ruled that what Sessions wants cities to do is unconstitutional, and commentators have suggested that Sessions’ continued attempts to crack down on immigrants is in part an effort to rescue his “beleaguered” standing in the White House.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel explained the Chicago lawsuit by saying:

Chicago is a welcoming City and always will be, and we will not be blackmailed by President Trump’s Justice Department. 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 undermine our public safety agenda.

According to CNN, the lawsuit is supported by Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who stated:

The federal government has been an effective partner in the crime fight, as funding and additional federal agents have greatly helped us to take guns off the streets and make our communities safer… Removing those resources, regardless of the reason, makes CPD’s mission to protect all residents in Chicago that much more difficult.

As those of us who have watched his career predicted, Jeff Sessions is using the power of his office to restrict rights and create fear around the country.  He’s making a mockery of the idea that justice can be had at his DOJ. But he’s learning that the opposition to his agenda of hate and fear is even more determined to thwart him.