Judge: Sessions can't deny grant money for sanctuary cities

Pauline Gross
September 17, 2017

The City of Chicago sued Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he promised to withhold funding from cities that didn't cooperate when federal authorities told them to detain people suspected of immigration violations.

In today's 41-page injunction, US District Judge Harry Leinenweber found that Sessions had likely overstepped his authority in imposing the new rules. The ruling, he added, is "nationwide in scope" with "there being no reason to think that the legal issues present in this case are restricted to Chicago".

A federal judge has just ruled that Attorney General Jeff Sessions can not withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities.

"By protecting criminals from immigration enforcement, cities and states with "so-called" sanctuary policies make their communities less safe and undermine the rule of law".

Trump, however, on 14 September expressed sympathy for those protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which offered young illegal immigrants an eventual path to permanent residency and citizenship.

President Donald Trump has made tougher immigration enforcement a centerpiece of his campaign and presidency, along with a pledge to build a wall on the US-Mexican border.

Whether or not the ruling means that Judge Leinenweber will ultimately decide in favor of the city is unclear, but he did demonstrate that the city had a good case.

At stake was more than $2 million that Chicago and its neighboring jurisdictions receive from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants.

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"Some states and cities have adopted policies created to frustrate the enforcement of our immigration laws", Sessions said. At least seven cities and counties, as well as the State of California, have refused to follow the new federal rules.

Let's be clear what the city of Chicago and other sanctuary cities are fighting so hard for. The cities say that law enforcement cooperation with "immigrant communities" would be drastically affected if they allowed the federal government to enforce the law.

Dozens of cities have taken a stance on deportation enforcement similar to Chicago's including New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New Orleans.

The judge's opinion temporarily blocks the DOJ program while the lawsuit plays out in court and claims Sessions doesn't have the authority to implement the policy. "Once such trust is lost, it can not be repaired through an award of money damages, making it the type of harm that is especially hard to rectify", Leinenweber writes.

The Justice Department swiftly fired back over the ruling, signaling that federal officials would continue to fight cities over their immigration policies.

Leinenweber's ruling was not welcomed at the Justice Department.

The preliminary injunction applies to more than 400 cities nationwide.

Other reports by GizPress

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