Victory! A Sanctuary City No More

RLI, Bopp Law Firm win lawsuit against Gary, Indiana, sanctuary law

11/17/2020 WASHINGTON, D.C.—Yesterday, in a major victory against sanctuary policies, Indiana’s Lake Superior Court struck down an ordinance that the City of Gary, Indiana, had enacted to protect illegal aliens, even ones with criminal records, from federal immigration law enforcement. The decision is a complete victory for the plaintiffs, who are represented by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) and The Bopp Law Firm.

Lawyers at IRLI and Bopp had 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 Gary 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 Gary 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 Gary’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 Gary 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 Nicholson v. City of Gary, Indiana, No. 45D05-1802-MI-000014 (Lake Superior Court).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • blonergan@irli.org

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