Jeff Sessions can't withhold grant money from sanctuary cities, judge rules

Susan Walsh  AP

Susan Walsh AP

As detailed by The Chicago Tribune, the judge in question ― U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber, to be specific ― ruled in a 41-page opinion that the city of Chicago has demonstrated a "likelihood of success" in its challenge to the Trump administration's efforts to yank federal funds, and as such he's granted a nationwide injunction.

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

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. Earlier this month, Sessions announced that the administration would end a program that protects young immigrants who were brought to the USA illegally as children or came with families who overstayed their visas. As a presidential candidate, Trump pledged to ramp up deportations and build a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

"The harm to the city's relationship with the immigrant community, if it should accede to the conditions, is irreparable", Leinenweber wrote.

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The grants at issue, under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, or Byrne JAG, programme typically are used to help police improve crime-fighting techniques, buy new equipment and assist victims of crime.

"Sanctuary cities" generally have policies where police do not tell immigration authorities when low-level offenders, but comply with federal requests for serious and violent crimes. At least seven cities and counties, as well as the State of California, have refused to follow the new federal rules. The Justice Department demanded that cities give ICE agents access to jails and report when an undocumented immigrant was released. "This is astounding given the unprecedented violent crime surge in Chicago, with the number of murders in 2016 surpassing both NY and Los Angeles combined".

The judge said it was likely Attorney General Jeff Sessions had overstepped his authority with the order.

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

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The Justice Department did get one win, however.

Leinenweber agreed with Chicago's assertion that trust between police and the community could suffer as a result of the restrictions, saying that it is a type of harm "that is especially hard to rectify".

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

"No amount of federal taxpayer dollars will help a city that refuses to help its own residents", Sessions said in a statement.

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The ministry has also asked the state governments to identity such illegal immigrants and initiate deportation process. It says that Rohingyas must be deported as they pose a challenge to our internal security, which is paramount.

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