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Attorney General Todd Rokita sues East Chicago, alleging sanctuary cities ban violation

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Government, Law, Politics, Statewide News
A 2024 law gives the Indiana attorney general the power to enforce the state's longstanding ban on sanctuary cities. (Screenshot of Facebook Live)

Attorney General Todd Rokita is suing East Chicago, arguing the northwest Indiana community is violating the state’s ban on sanctuary cities.

An Indiana law from 2011 bans local governments from restricting communication or cooperation with federal officials when it comes to information about citizenship or immigration status.

2017 East Chicago ordinance directed city officials and law enforcement not to share information with federal immigration authorities – like a person’s immigration status, work location or contact information.

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A group of citizens sued the city years ago, challenging the ordinance. But the Indiana Supreme Court ruled those citizens couldn’t prove they were harmed by the measure.

That’s why this year, Republican lawmakers authorized the attorney general to enforce the sanctuary cities ban — prompting Rokita’s suit against East Chicago.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.