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Trump threatens sanctuary cities like Chicago with loss of federal funds

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The city could stand to lose millions if President Trump’s plan pushes through congress

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at a podium about protections for sanctuary cities, specifically Chicago
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, center, spoke at a news conference Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, in Chicago. Emanuel said the outcome of the U.S. presidential election will not impact Chicago's commitment as a sanctuary city for immigrants.
AP Photo/Teresa Crawford

This afternoon at a press conference, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced that the Trump administration is looking to "strip federal grant money from sanctuary states and cities.”

Like many other major U.S. cities, Chicago—the country’s third largest city—is a sanctuary city. While specifics were not revealed, it’s an ominous announcement, especially when considering that just hours earlier President Trump published a tweet threatening to “send in the Feds” to Chicago to help with its violent crime epidemic.

It’s uncertain which funds the White House is looking to withhold from sanctuary cities and whether such a motion would be approved by congress.

According to DNAinfo, which cited a study from the the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, Chicago’s budget for 2017 includes $1.3 billion in federal grants and funds. The figure represents about 14% of the city’s budget. However, if the plan targets funding related to immigration and law enforcement, the number drops to about $78 million, a number which represents less than a percent of the city’s budget for this year.

Last November after Trump had wrapped up the general election, Mayor Rahm Emanuel reiterated the notion that Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city was not changing.

“To all those who are, after Tuesday's election, very nervous and filled with anxiety as we've spoken to, you are safe in Chicago, you are secure in Chicago and you are supported in Chicago,” he said to an audience at the Lurie Children's Hospital just days after the election. “Chicago will always remain a sanctuary city.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel reassured Chicago residents this afternoon by yet again reaffirming the city’s status as a sanctuary city. “I want to be clear: We’re gonna stay a sanctuary city,” the mayor said at an event celebrating Archbishop Blase Cupich’s promotion to cardinal. “We welcome people — whether you’re from Poland or Pakistan, whether you’re from Ireland or India or Israel and whether you’re from Mexico or Moldovia where my grandfather came from. You are welcome in Chicago as you pursue the American dream.”