Jeff Sessions slams Rahm Emanuel for promoting 'lawlessness' with sanctuary lawsuit

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions slammed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday after the city filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration's new sanctuary city policies, saying "no amount of federal taxpayer dollars" will go to Chicago if they move forward in retaliation.

The Trump administration in March introduced a new policy that would withhold funds from so-called "sanctuary cities" that blockade U.S. immigration official access to local jails. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Monday claims these conditions "fly in the face of longstanding City policy that promotes cooperation between local law enforcement and immigrant communities" -- an argument Sessions described as "astounding."

"No amount of federal taxpayer dollars will help a city that refuses to help its own residents," Sessions said in the statement. "The Mayor complains that the federal government's focus on enforcing the law would require a 'reordering of law enforcement practice in Chicago.' But that's just what Chicago needs: a recommitment to the rule of law and to policies that rollback the culture of lawlessness that has beset the city."

RELATED: Sanctuary Cities in the USA

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Sanctuary Cities in the USA

Washington, DC

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New York City, New York

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Jersey City, New Jersey

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Los Angeles, California

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

(Photo: Rudolf Balasko)

San Francisco, California

(Photo: Noah Clayton)

San Diego, California

(Photo: Aleksey Butov)

San Jose, California

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Oakland, California

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Salt Lake City, Utah

(Photo: Kenneth C. Zirkel)

Houston, Texas

(Photo: Jeremy Woodhouse)

Detroit, Michigan 

(Photo: Jumper)

Chicago, Illinois 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Minneapolis, Minnesota 

(Photo: Rudy Balasko)

Denver, Colorado

(Photo: Chris Rogers)

Baltimore, Maryland

(Photo: Getty Images)

Seattle, Washington

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Portland, Oregon

(Photo: Alamy)

New Haven, Connecticut 

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Cambridge, Massachusetts

(Photo: Cassandra Hubbart, AOL)

Portland, Maine

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Emanuel -- who previously served as White House chief of staff to former President Barack Obama -- defended the lawsuit on CNN, saying the DOJ-ordered policy updates "undermines our actual safety agenda."

"We want you to come to Chicago if you believe in the American dream," Emanuel said. "By forcing us, or the police department, to choose between the values of the city and the philosophy of the police department, in community policing, I think it's a false choice and it undermines our actual safety agenda."

Sessions' reference to "a culture of lawlessness" in Chicago comes after President Trump continues to point to the Illinois city as an example of rampant "crime and killings" in the U.S. According to a Chicago Tribune database, there have been 416 homicides in Chicago in 2017 as of Tuesday, August 8, where there were 788 homicides total in 2016.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson spoke out after Sessions released his statement, pushing back against the rhetoric linking violent crime to undocumented immigrant populations.

"Undocumented immigrants are not driving violence in Chicago," Johnson said. "And that's why I want our officers focused on community policing and not trying to be the immigration police," he said.

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The statement from the federal government's highest law enforcement official ended with a direct warning for Emanuel and other local officials.

The tough language from Sessions comes after the attorney general suffered an embattled mid-summer as Trump publicly criticized the former U.S. senator from Alabama for taking a "weak position" in recusing himself from an ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

After reports that the DOJ head and Trump were not on speaking terms, new White House chief of staff John Kelly reportedly assured Sessions his job within the administration is secure. Hardline statements enforcing the president's agenda could potentially serve as an approval boost from the commander in chief for Sessions.

"This administration will not simply give away grant dollars to city governments that proudly violate the rule of law and protect criminal aliens at the expense of public safety," the statement reads. "So it's this simple: Comply with the law or forego taxpayer dollars."

RELATED: A look at Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions

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Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) joins President Donald Trump (L) for an opioid and drug abuse listening session at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
President Donald Trump speaks with Attorney General Jeff Sessions as they attend the National Peace Officers Memorial Service on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions speaks next to U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally at Madison City Schools Stadium in Madison, Alabama February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Marvin Gentry
U.S. President Donald Trump watches as Vice President Mike Pence (R) swears in Jeff Sessions (L) as U.S. Attorney General while his wife Mary Sessions holds the Bible in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 28: Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., left, endorses Donald Trump to be the Republican nominee for president during a campaign rally at Madison City Schools Stadium in Madison, Ala., February 28, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
U.S. President Donald Trump congratulates Jeff Sessions after he was sworn in as U.S. Attorney General as his wife Mary Sessions looks on during a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump sits with U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) (L) and retired U.S. Army General Keith Kellogg (R) during a national security meeting with advisors at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a swearing-in ceremony for new Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Under a portrait of former President Andrew Jackson, U.S. President Donald Trump (L) congratulates Jeff Sessions after he was sworn in as U.S. Attorney General during a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
President Donald Trump reaches out toward Attorney General Jeff Sessions as they attend the National Peace Officers Memorial Service on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
US President-elect Donald Trump (C) talks with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (2nd L) and US Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions (L) as he arrives in Mobile, Alabama, for a 'Thank You Tour 2016' rally on December 17, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
MOBILE, AL - DECEMBER 17: President-elect Donald Trump greets Senator Jeff Sessions, Trump's picks for attorney general, during a thank you rally in Ladd-Peebles Stadium on December 17, 2016 in Mobile, Alabama. President-elect Trump has been visiting several states that he won, to thank people for their support during the U.S. election. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump watches as Vice President Mike Pence (R) swears in Jeff Sessions (L) as U.S. Attorney General while his wife Mary Sessions holds the Bible in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
MOBILE, AL- AUGUST 21: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump introduces Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R) Mobile during his rally at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on August 21, 2015 in Mobile, Alabama. The Donald Trump campaign moved tonight's rally to a larger stadium to accommodate demand. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump congratulates Jeff Sessions after he was sworn in as U.S. Attorney General as his wife Mary Sessions looks on during a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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