Judge blocks Justice Department from punishing sanctuary cities


In what is at least a temporary victory for cities that have defied the directive of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber ruled that the Justice Department can not impose the requirements.

It means that at least for now, the Justice Department can't deny requests for public-safety grants from cities that refuse to impose Sessions' tough immigration policies.

Other sanctuary cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, have sued the Trump administration over its attempts to cut federal funding.

The announcement came just days after a nationwide conversation about Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US illegally as children. As a presidential candidate, Trump pledged to ramp up deportations and build a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

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

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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Friday's decision marked the second time this year a federal judge has blocked the Trump administration's efforts to force sanctuary cities to cooperate on immigration enforcement.

Federal records show the Justice Department doled out $1 billion in Byrne JAG money to state governments, $430 million to nonprofits and $136 million directly to cities and counties past year. 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.

Let's be clear what the city of Chicago and other sanctuary cities are fighting so hard for. Total funding for such grants this year was $383.5 million, according to the Justice Department. The cities say that law enforcement cooperation with "immigrant communities" would be drastically affected if they allowed the federal government to enforce the law. You would think that legal immigrants would be up in arms about this policy, but this is not the case. The Justice Department demanded that cities give ICE agents access to jails and report when an undocumented immigrant was released.

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.

"No amount of federal taxpayer dollars will help a city that refuses to help its own residents", Sessions said in a statement. A judge agreed that the city had a good case and issued the injunction covering the entire country.