September 8, 2017

Mayors Emanuel, de Blasio, Garcetti, Kenney & Walsh File Another Legal Brief Against President Trump's Travel Ban

Cities, counties, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities oppose the President’s attempts to restrict travel into the United States; U.S. Supreme Court to Review Issue in October

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh today announced the Cities of Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, 39 other cities and counties, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities have filed another legal brief, this time in the United States Supreme Court, supporting legal challenges to President Donald Trump’s efforts to restrict travel to the United States from six majority-Muslim nations and to suspend the refugee program.

“With his harmful, immoral and unlawful actions, President Trump has turned his back on the world and abandoned America’s values,” said Mayor Emanuel.  “Diversity is Chicago’s strength, and we will always welcome individuals and immigrants of every color, culture and creed. I am proud to stand with Mayors and municipalities from across the country in presenting a united legal argument to the Supreme Court to ensure that America’s beacon still burns brightly for all.”

Today, Chicago led a total of 44 cities and counties, in addition to the U.S. Conference Mayors and the National League of Cities, in filing a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief in support of the plaintiffs, the State of Hawaii, an immigrant rights group and several individuals who challenged two provisions of the Executive Order, both the President’s travel ban for individuals from certain Muslim-majority countries and the suspension of the admission of refugees into the United States.  Both the Fourth Circuit and the Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals upheld preliminary injunctions against the Order. The U.S. Supreme Court has combined the cases and will hear oral argument in the consolidated case in October.

“New York, alongside cities across the country, is again standing strong against the un-American, exclusionary policies of President Trump,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We are proud to embrace immigrant communities that are an essential part of our cities, where they help strengthen the local economy and contribute to civic life. This policy not only discriminates against immigrant communities, but also makes us all less safe by undermining trust with law enforcement and making immigrants more vulnerable to victimization. By targeting individuals from Muslim-majority nations, this order is also a refutation of our nation’s historic commitment to be a home of refuge for those fleeing violence. New York, in partnership with cities across America, will keep fighting misguided and dangerous policies that are an affront to our morals.”

"The President's own statements make clear that this revised policy has little to do with public safety, and everything to do with his divisive political strategy, unlawfully aimed at one religious group," said Mayor Kenney.

"I am proud to join my fellow Mayors and other cities across the country in standing up for immigrants and their families," said Mayor Walsh. "Together we are sending a clear message that preventing people from entering the country based solely on their faith runs counter to everything we stand for as Americans. Now is the time for us to reaffirm our values as a nation, and show that we will continue to be a country that will defend our most cherished principles."

"The U.S. Conference of Mayors is proud to join with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other mayors in challenging the President's travel ban," said Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. "The Conference has strong policy opposing all forms of discrimination and hate speech based on an individual’s religion and country of origin, welcoming Muslims as U.S. residents, and supporting the U.S. refugee program. The President's Executive Order clearly discriminates against Muslims and refugees. The nation's mayors urge the Supreme Court to strike it down."
"America's city leaders stand united against all exclusionary policies based on religion or national origin," said Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and Executive Director of the National League of Cities. "Such orders undermine public trust in law enforcement and impact both tourism and workforce development. As city leaders, we welcome all those who dream of building new lives in our cities, towns and villages."

In addition to the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Boston, joined by Alexandria, Ann Arbor, Austin, Baltimore, Brighton, Carrboro, Central Falls, Cook County, Dayton, Denver, Durham, Evanston, Gary, Honolulu, Iowa City, Ithaca, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Minneapolis, Madison, Montgomery County (Maryland), Nashville, New Haven, New Orleans, Normal, Oakland, Portland, Providence, Rochester, Saint Paul, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Clara County, Santa Monica, Seattle, Skokie, South Bend, Tucson, West Hollywood and West Sacramento, presented the local government position to the U. S. Supreme Court. The brief points out that President Trump claims unbridled and essentially unreviewable authority to exclude – on a blanket basis – hundreds of millions of Muslims from the United States just because they are Muslim.  His intent has been clear since the campaign, where he repeatedly promised to do just what he did in the travel ban.  The blatant discrimination against Muslims is a violation of our constitutional religious freedom and it is repugnant to the values our communities hold dear.

The brief explains the vital contribution that immigrants make to our cities and country and argues that the travel ban is misguided and unconstitutional. Further, the brief argues that cities and counties serve as gateways for immigrants and refugees starting new lives in America, and that the President’s executive order endangers communities; undermines national security; limits the labor pool; decreases tax revenues; dampens tourism industries; and harms businesses, educational institutions and hospitals.

Earlier this year, President Trump issued an executive order, followed by a revised executive order, restricting immigration by prohibiting people from six countries—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen—from entering the U.S. for 90 days and halting the admission into the United States of people granted refugee status for 120 days.

Today’s filing is the fifth brief Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston and other cities and counties have filed against President Trump’s attempts to restrict travel into the United States.

The City’s brief was prepared with the pro bono assistance of several attorneys of the law firm Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP, which has offices in Chicago, New York and San Francisco.  

The recent legal action is one of several actions the Emanuel Administration has taken since the November election to reiterate Chicago’s status as a welcoming City.

Among these, to provide legal assistance to vulnerable Chicago residents, the city created a Legal Protection Fund, pledging $1.3 million to the fund to integrate legal support from attorneys with community navigators rooted in Chicago's many ethnic communities to provide outreach, education and assistance to immigrant families across Chicago.

In August, Mayor Emanuel announced that the City of Chicago filed a federal lawsuit to prevent President Trump’s Justice Department from making a federal crime prevention grant that is critical to public safety efforts conditional on unrelated and unlawful immigration enforcement actions. As part of the suit, the City is asking the court to declare Attorney General Jeff Session’s actions in imposing new conditions to the FY2017 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program unlawful and that Chicago and its Welcoming City ordinance are in compliance with all valid and applicable federal laws.

Earlier this week, Mayor Emanuel called on Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly to establish an Illinois Dreamers Bill of Rights. The bill would enshrine protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – also known as Dreamers – guaranteeing them access to state financial aid and scholarships, professional licenses and certifications for jobs and additional protections against deportation.

Mayor Emanuel, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Luis Gutierrez also launched a new “Chicago is With You” task force that is collaborating on mental health, legal services, employer communications, and education policies to ensure the City is delivering comprehensive services to immigrants, refugees and other disenfranchised communities.

Since taking office, Mayor Emanuel has launched a series of initiatives that improve the immigrant community’s access to services, expand new and existing immigrant businesses, and welcome and celebrate Chicago’s diverse immigrant communities. These initiatives include launching the Cities for Citizenship Campaign with the Mayors of New York City and Los Angeles, which has grown into a bipartisan effort which works with 30 city and county leaders across America.