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

A screenshot from a Facebook Live shows Todd Rokita speaking in front of a seal of the office of the Attorney General.
Screenshot of Facebook Live
A 2024 law gives the Indiana attorney general the power to enforce the state's longstanding ban on sanctuary cities.

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.

A 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.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.