IRLI Sues Gary, Indiana Over Sanctuary City Ordinance

Press Releases

December 5, 2017

Ensuring the safety and security of our communities

Attorneys from the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) and the Bopp Law Firm today filed suit against the City of Gary, Indiana, its Mayor and its Common Council members in Indiana’s Lake County Circuit Court to challenge the City’s sanctuary law sheltering illegal aliens. This groundbreaking legal action zeroes in on Gary’s policy of protecting illegal aliens, even those with criminal records.

At issue is Gary’s ordinance 9100, which proclaims the community 25 miles southeast of Chicago to be a “welcoming city.” The complaint filed by IRLI and Bopp lawyers contends that the ordinance is in violation of Chapter 18.2 of Article 2, Title 5 of Indiana’s State Code, which prohibits governmental bodies in the state from adopting non-cooperation policies regarding immigration-law information and enforcement.

Chapter 18.2 further imposes on law-enforcement officers a duty to cooperate with state and federal officials on matters pertaining to enforcement of laws governing immigration, to the full extent permitted by federal law.

By a vote of 6-3, the City of Gary Common Council passed and adopted the ordinance on May 16, 2017. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson approved and signed the ordinance. Freeman-Wilson and members of the Council are named as defendants in the suit.

“By enacting ordinance 9100, the leaders of Gary have flagrantly violated Indiana’s law prohibiting sanctuary cities,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “In addition to defying state law, they are also endangering the safety of their constituents. As we saw in the Kate Steinle case, sanctuary city policies can result in tragic consequences. To allow this ordinance to stand would set a dangerous precedent in Indiana.”

Residents of Gary and other sanctuary cities are victimized by these illegal policies. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement estimates, roughly 2.1 million criminal aliens are living in the U.S., over 1.9 million of which are removable. These criminal aliens continue to live in communities and engage in further criminal activity when state and local law enforcement are prohibited from cooperating with federal immigration officials.

IRLI was involved in Indiana’s anti-sanctuary law from its inception, advising lawmakers during the drafting process and defending it against attacks by the amnesty lobby.

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]

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