Victory! Another Sanctuary Ordinance Falls

Press Releases

April 30, 2021

IRLI, Bopp Law Firm win lawsuit against East Chicago, Indiana, sanctuary law

WASHINGTON—Yesterday, in a major victory against sanctuary policies, Indiana’s Lake Superior Court struck down key parts of an ordinance that the City of East Chicago, Indiana, had enacted to protect illegal aliens, even ones with criminal records, from federal immigration law enforcement. The decision is a major victory for the plaintiffs, who are represented by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) and The Bopp Law Firm. Previously, the same attorneys represented plaintiffs who successfully challenged a similar ordinance in Gary, Indiana.

In the East Chicago case, lawyers at IRLI and Bopp argued, and the court yesterday found, that the ordinance violates several Indiana statutes prohibiting governmental bodies in the state from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration law enforcement. The statutes, which IRLI had helped draft, require local jurisdictions to cooperate with such enforcement to the full extent contemplated in federal law.

“Indiana’s law banning sanctuary cities in Indiana clearly bans what the City of East Chicago and other Hoosier cities have done with so-called ‘Welcoming City’ ordinances,” said James Bopp, Jr. of The Bopp Law Firm. “We are pleased that, after extended litigation, the court has recognized the obvious fact that such ordinances are illegal in Indiana. There must be no more such ordinances in Indiana, and those in existence are clearly in violation of Indiana law.”

Residents of East Chicago and other sanctuary cities are victimized by such unlawful non-cooperation policies. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement estimates, roughly 2.1 million alien criminals are living in the U.S., over 1.9 million of whom are removable. Because of policies, like East Chicago’s, that prohibit state and local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials, alien criminals are able to stay in communities and commit more crimes.

“IRLI applauds the court’s decision,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “Sheltering illegal aliens from immigration authorities not only flagrantly violates duly-enacted Indiana law, but represents a serious public safety and national security risk. When cities such as East Chicago insist on putting the interests of illegal aliens above those of their own citizenry, they have to be stopped, and we are pleased the court did just that yesterday.”

The case is Serbon v. City of East Chicago, Indiana, No. 45D03-1805-PL-000045 (Lake Superior Court).

Get Connected

Sign up for our email newsletter to stay up to date with immigration reform in the United States.

Attorneys United for a Secure America (AUSA) is a non-partisan affiliation of talented attorneys dedicated to pursuing cases that serve the national interest when it comes to immigration law.

If you are interested in joining the network, visit the AUSA website.