An Indiana judge this week ruled against East Chicago, finding the city’s sanctuary policy limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities violates a state anti-sanctuary law.
The city’s policy, officially known as a “welcoming city” ordinance, had been on the books since 2017. It was part of a surge of sanctuaries as President Trump took office vowing stiffer enforcement of federal immigration laws.
But Judge Thomas P. Hallett, sitting in the Lake County Superior Court, enjoined the city’s ordinance in an order Thursday.
He noted that the city’s police department was already in compliance with one part of the law by providing its officers a notice of their duty to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
James Bopp Jr., a conservative lawyer who along with the Immigration Reform Law Institute challenged the city, said other jurisdictions in Indiana should be warned.
“There must be no more such ordinances in Indiana, and those in existence are clearly in violation of Indiana law,” he said.
The city mayor’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
In court, the city and its allies had argued that the state allowed localities leeway in setting their own policies and asked the judge to respect local officials’ decisions.
In their lawsuit challenging the city, Mr. Bopp and IRLI had also argued the East Chicago policy violated the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Judge Hallett sidelined that claim, saying the plaintiffs didn’t have standing.
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