Federal judge slaps down Sessions on sanctuary citiesby Richard Bailey 15/09/2017 19:46:00 0 comments 1 Views
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a plan to withhold grant money from 'sanctuary cities'
- Criminal justice grants would be withheld from cities that didn't comply
- More than 30 jurisdictions filed court briefs against the new policy
- Notification requirement for that cities about to release someone in the country illegally from local jails
By Associated Press
Published: 16:43 EDT, 15 September 2017 | Updated: 19:46 EDT, 15 September 2017
Attorney General Jeff Sessions can't follow through - at least for now - with his threat to withhold public safety grant money to Chicago and other so-called sanctuary cities for refusing to impose new tough immigration policies, a judge ruled Friday in a legal defeat for the Trump administration.
In what is at least a temporary victory for cities that have defied Sessions, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber ruled that the Justice Department could not impose the requirements.
He said the city had shown a 'likelihood of success' in arguing that Sessions exceeded his authority with the new conditions. Among them are requirements that cities notify immigration agents when someone in the country illegally is about to be released from local jails and to allow agents access to the jails.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at a news conference to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program at the Justice Department in Washington, U.S., September 5, 2017. A federal judge ruled Friday that the Justice Department could not impose requirements on sanctuary cities to make them eligible for funding
The city had asked the judge for a 'nationwide' temporary injunction this week, asking the judge not to allow the Justice Department to impose the requirements until the city's lawsuit against the department plays out in court.
City officials have said such a ruling would prevent the Justice Department from withholding what are called Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants to the cities based on their refusal to take the steps Sessions ordered.
Chicago has applied for $2.2 million in the federal grant money - $1.5 million for the city and the rest for Cook County and 10 other suburbs. But in a recent court hearing, attorneys representing the city said that more than 30 other jurisdictions across the United States filed court briefs supporting Chicago's lawsuit and have up to $35 million in grants at stake.
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.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a vigil ceremony marking the September 11 terrorist attacks at the Department of Justice on September 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. Today marks the 16th anniversary of the attacks that killed almost 3,000 people and wounded another 6,000
The Golden Gate Bridge is awash in warm light from the setting sun in San Francisco, California, February 13, 2015. The court ruling suspends action against sanctuary cities
DENVER, CO - APRIL 30: Denver Skyline as seen from the Cherry Creek Dam road in Denver, Colorado on April 30, 2015. The court ruling suspends action against sanctuary cities
Though the $1.5 million is just a tiny fraction of the city's budget, the ruling could be a major victory for a city that has been in a public fight with Sessions.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said the city would not 'be blackmailed' into changing its values as a city welcoming of immigrants, and Sessions responded that the Trump administration would not 'simply give away grant money to city governments that proudly violate the rule of law and protect criminal aliens at the expense of public safety.'
Attorney General Jeff Sessions departs after speaking during a vigil ceremony marking the September 11 terrorist attacks at the Department of Justice on September 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. Today marks the 16th anniversary of the attacks that killed almost 3,000 people and wounded another 6,000
The ruling is another blow to Sessions, a longtime champion of tougher immigration laws.
Earlier this month, Sessions announced that the administration would end a program that protects young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families who overstayed their visas. Trump later announced he was working on an agreement to protect them.
Whether or not the ruling means that Leinenweber will ultimately decide in favor of the city is unclear.
During a hearing, Ron Safer, an attorney representing the city, said that if the Justice Department prevailed, he could use the same argument to 'seize' even more authority to tie grant money to doing what he wants.