Federal judge rules Trump administration can not withhold grants from 'sanctuary cities'

Posted September 17, 2017

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel applauded the federal judge's decision on barring the U.S. Justice Department from denying public-safety grants to so-called sanctuary cities at a City Hall.

This ruling only gives Chicago a preliminary injunction, but the judge said the city showed a "likelihood of success" that it could prove Sessions overstepped his bounds with the punishments.

"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", Justice Department spokesman Devin O'Malley said in a statement after the ruling was announced.

The statute creating the Byrne grant does not authorize the Attorney General to place conditions on it, although other grants do allow for such measures, according to the judge's 41-page ruling.

A federal judge ruled on Friday that the US attorney general can not block funding to so-called sanctuary cities after current Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced plans earlier this year to do just that.

The move was a significant escalation in the Trump administration's approach to sanctuary jurisdictions, which typically refuse to honor federal requests to detain immigrants in jails past their scheduled release dates unless the requests are accompanied by a judicial warrant.

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He said the bodies were being identified via DNA tests as they had been severely burned and it would take some time. Police said the dead were 21 students - all boys between the age of 13 and 17 - and two staff members.

The ruling is another blow to Mr. Sessions, a longtime champion of tougher immigration laws. Earlier this month, Trump announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a lifeline for around 800,000 young undocumented people living in the United States. As a presidential candidate, Trump pledged to ramp up deportations and build a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

At stake was more than $2 million that Chicago and its neighboring jurisdictions receive from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants. At least seven cities and counties, including Seattle and San Francisco, as well as the state of California, are refusing to cooperate with the new federal rules. Here, we follow binding Supreme Court precedent and the persuasive authority of the Second Circuit, neither of which elevates federalism to the degree urged by the City here.

With the White House seeking to curb immigration across the nation, cities have found themselves on the front lines of a dispute over public safety. You would think that legal immigrants would be up in arms about this policy, but this is not the case.

Those are some of the most controversial requests by the federal government regarding local law enforcement.

The preliminary injunction issued by a U.S. district judge was in response to a legal challenge brought by Chicago, the third-largest city in the US.