Chicagoans react to Trump's threat to withdraw funding for sanctuary cities

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There are defiant voices in Chicago in response to President Donald Trump's threat to withdraw federal funding for sanctuary cities like Chicago.

A city hall insider said the Trump executive order on Wednesday on immigration read like a press release as opposed to a directive. So Chicago officials don't how much is at stake as pressure builds to resist the White House action.

At city hall, some young adults--many of them undocumented--demanded that Chicago strengthen its sanctuary city ordinance to protect immigrants from around the world.

"Not as a symbolic show of solidarity but because our safety, our well-being our fate is linked," Jonae Bonsu, Black Youth Project 100, said.

President Trump's executive order could stop the flow of federal money to Chicago, a self-described sanctuary city that expects to receive over $1.5 billion in grants from Washington this year.

"We're going to stay a sanctuary city," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

The mayor's budget office would not say which programs are potentially jeopardized or how much could be at risk. In his order, President Trump specified that grants to law enforcement agencies should not be affected.

In 1985, Mayor Harold Washington made Chicago one of the first sanctuary cities when he prohibited city employees from enforcing immigration laws when servicing residents.

"My expectation is there will be litigation both from municipalities and states and litigation from individual undocumented workers," Brendan Shiller, an attorney, said.

Shiller predicted lawyers like himself will fight the Trump Administration in court.

"The Constitution has made it clear. Due process applies to both citizens and non-citizens if you're in this country," Shiller said.

A separate government unit in possible jeopardy is the Chicago Public School system.

Last year, the CPS board passed a resolution endorsing city hall's ordinance, "...prohibiting unlawful discrimination or harassment on the basis of immigration status."

Of course, near-bankrupt CPS with tens of thousands of immigrant children enrolled is already hundreds of millions of dollars in deficit this year. There is no way the city schools could afford the loss of any federal aid.
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