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Grassroots Victory! Judge Blocks Gary Indiana’s Sanctuary Status

author Published by Chris Pierce

A Lake County judge in Indiana has recently struck down the city of Gary’s “welcoming city” ordinance, a cleverly named sanctuary statute that severely limited local compliance with federal immigration agencies and officers, and provided illegal protections to alien residents and visitors.

The ruling came several years after a lawsuit was filed in 2017 by Terre Haute attorney James Bopp Jr., who challenged the ordinance based on the grounds that it violated a 2011 state law banning sanctuary cities and requiring local officials to work with federal officers on investigations into alien residents.

Bopp represented Gary Ind. residents Jeff Nicholson, Douglas Grimes, Greg Serbon, and Cheree Calabro, naming the city of Gary, its city council, and its mayor as defendants. Lake Superior Court Judge Stephen E. Scheele later dismissed the city council and mayor from the lawsuit, leaving the city of Gary as the sole defendant.

In his decision, Judge Scheele stated the city was prohibited from enforcing the provisions of the ordinance that violate Indiana code and other federal laws.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

In a 40-page brief to the court, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill argued state law bans local ordinances prohibiting local officials from cooperating with federal officials enforcing U.S. immigration laws.

“Our nation’s immigration laws are designed to protect the public, including immigrants who have followed the proper processes to reside in our great country. Authorities at the local, state and federal levels must cooperate with each other to enforce these measures. Policies that purposely hinder such collaboration not only violate Indiana law but also jeopardize Hoosiers’ safety.”

Mayor Jerome Prince, seemingly uninterested in what the Judge had ruled or the existing law states, said in a statement the city will “assess the ruling and determine its next steps.” The mayor continued, “but one thing will not change: Gary will remain a welcoming city regardless of anyone’s immigration status, race, ethnicity and personal orientation,” seemingly offering nice sentiments and taglines while ignoring the true nature of the decision.

The measure passed the city council in 2017 by a 6-3 vote. Gary was the first city in Lake County to pass an ordinance declaring itself a sanctuary city.

The recnet judicial decision not only represents a defeat of sanctuary policies for the city of Gary but also a legal defeat for Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and the Public Rights Project (based in Oakland Calif.) who partnered with the city of Gary in an attempt to defend the disastrous policy.

For more on this story, please visit The Chicago Tribune.

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