The Trump administration has frequently claimed there is a link between immigrants and crime. It’s a perception that is rejected in Chicago where the administration is fighting legislation against so-called “sanctuary cities.”
In August, Attorney General Jeff Sessions targeted “criminal aliens” in Chicago.
Sessions’ attack was a response to a lawsuit filed on Aug. 7. Chicago is seeking to block the Justice Department from withholding federal grant money for policing “sanctuary cities.”
Chicago is one of the sanctuary cities the federal government is taking aim at, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Chicago’s Police Department does not question the victims of crimes, witnesses and other law-abiding residents about their legal immigration status.
The city won’t use an individual’s immigration status alone as grounds for detention. The city also imposes strict limits on the interaction between police officers and federal immigration (ICE) agents.
The city’s stance has set the scene for a stand-off between Chicago and the federal government.
Sessions pulled few punches in early August. He said the city was a trafficker, smuggler, or predator’s “best friend. He warned Chicago will lose more cash to fight crime. Sessions said:
“Respect for the rule of law has broken down. In Chicago, their so-called ‘sanctuary’ policies are just one sad example.”
The AJC story noted how the Trump administration’s insistence on an alleged link between illegal immigrants and spikes in crime is questioned in academic and other circles.
The AJC contacted the Department of Justice asking for data to back up Sessions’ claim.
The DOJ referred to a 2016 study by the Murder Accountability Project, a nonprofit group that monitors unsolved homicides and calls for improved crime reporting.
That study found Illinois has the lowest homicide clearance rate in the nation. However, the poor clear up rate appears to be caused by poor record-keeping methods at the Illinois State Police Department.
Chicago police have previously distanced themselves from claims that immigrants are fueling the recent spike seen in crime.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said an interview with NPR in August that the vast majority of violent crimes in the city are committed by “homegrown people.”
Most of the offenders are born and raised in Chicago. Instances of undocumented immigrants committing crimes are violence are nominal, he said.
The AJC referenced a 2015 report by the National Academy of Sciences that indicates Immigrants are less likely to commit crime than natives.
The study went further and suggested some impoverished areas that see an influx of immigrants are revitalized and see a fall in crimes.
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