Judge blocks funding ban for sanctuary cities

Frederick Owens
September 17, 2017

U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber ruled that the Justice Department cannot not impose the requirements.

"It means essential resources for public safety will not come with unlawful strings attached, and the Trump justice department can not continue to coerce us into violating and abandoning our values", Emanuel said. Leinenweber considered new restrictions placed on the grants in July. A judge in San Francisco restricted a January executive order from Trump that threatened to block all federal funds to sanctuary cities - a catchall term generally used to describe jurisdictions that have some policy of noncooperation with federal immigration enforcement. The government threatened cut off some of their federal funding but Friday a judge sided with the cities and not the government. That problem is one officials are well aware of; in states from California to Texas, many cities have moved to adopt policies discouraging law enforcement from enquiring about immigration status, and prioritizing public safety over detention and deportation. This month, he announced that the administration would end a program that protects young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children or came with families who overstayed their visas.

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.

"The court finds that the city has established that it would suffer irreparable harm if a preliminary injunction is not entered", Judge Leinenweber ruled.

Chicago, the nation's third-largest city, stood to lose its Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant - which a year ago was $2.3 million - for failing to comply with the Justice Department's conditions.

The ruling is the latest in the back-and-forth between the Trump administration and cities and states challenging his immigration actions. The Trump administration, on the other hand, has accused sanctuary cities of putting politics over public safety.

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Sessions asked the cities to allow federal immigration authorities unlimited access to local jails and provide 48 hours' notice before releasing anyone wanted for immigration violations.

"I want to be clear, this is not just a victory for the city of Chicago", Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at a press conference after the ruling.

A Justice Department spokesman, Devin O'Malley, declined comment when asked whether the administration would appeal the court order.

Sessions called Chicago's August 7 lawsuit "astounding", saying the city has gone through an unprecedented violent crime surge, "with the number of murders in 2016 surpassing both NY and Los Angeles combined". "The city's leaders can not follow some laws and ignore others and reasonably expect this horrific situation to improve". "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 federal government hasn't yet said whether it will appeal the ruling. A judge agreed that the city had a good case and issued the injunction covering the entire country.

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

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