Resistance to Sanctuary Cities Grows

Press Releases

May 9, 2018

IRLI sues East Chicago, Ind., to end a law “brazenly favoring the interests of alien criminals”

WASHINGTON—On behalf of Indiana residents Greg Serbon and John Allen, attorneys from the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) and The Bopp Law Firm today filed suit against the city of East Chicago, Indiana, and city officials. The plaintiffs seek to put an end to the city’s so-called “welcoming city ordinance,” which bars local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

The suit sets forth in detail how the ordinance violates both the U.S. Constitution and state law. For example, the ordinance forbids local officials from informing federal officers, even when asked, when aliens in local jails will be released, and it blocks federal officers from entering local jails to assume custody of criminal aliens. By interfering with federal enforcement of immigration laws in these and other ways, the ordinance violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

Just as outrageously, to protect illegal aliens – and aliens lawfully present – suspected of committing crimes, the ordinance requires police to avoid arresting crime suspects who might get deported as a result. This provision discriminates against those who have no deportation risk – that is, Americans – in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

The complaint also sets forth how the ordinance violates an Indiana state law that prohibits governmental bodies in the state from adopting sanctuary laws. East Chicago passed its ordinance in the teeth of this law, which requires local jurisdictions to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement to the full extent contemplated in federal law.

“By enacting this ordinance, East Chicago leaders flat-out defied not only their own state’s laws, but the United States Constitution,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “This so-called ‘welcoming’ ordinance discriminates against Americans in their own land, while brazenly favoring the interests of alien criminals over the rights and safety of all city residents.”

East Chicago’s ordinance is virtually identical to the Gary, Indiana, sanctuary law that IRLI and The Bopp Law Firm filed suit over late last year for blatantly violating Indiana’s anti-sanctuary law.

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

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