Federal Judge Rules Against Trump Administration's Immigration Crackdown On Sanctuary Cities
17 September, 2017, 00:58 | Author: Ora Austin
U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber ruled that Attorney General Jeff Sessions exceeded his authority by requiring cities to cooperate with federal immigration officials or lose grant money for fighting crime.
In April, a United States federal judge blocked also Trump's executive order that sought to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities for immigrants.
"To a degree perhaps unsurpassed by any other jurisdiction, the political leadership of Chicago has chosen deliberately and intentionally to adopt a policy that obstructs this country's lawful immigration system", Sessions said in a statement after the complaint was filed.
The announcement came just days after a nationwide conversation about Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US illegally as children.
The policy to withhold funds was rooted in an executive order signed by President Donald Trump in January declaring sanctuary cities would not be eligible for federal grants, which Sessions has been working to enforce ever since. 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. Throughout his presidential campaign, he vowed to pull federal funding from such cities unless they began cooperating and collaborating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to facilitate deportations.
Sessions described Chicago'slawsuit in August as "astounding". Nor would he say if he thought that the administration would find another way to punish the city, such as pulling the 20 agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who were recently assigned to the city as part of a new initiative against gun violence.
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 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.
Recently, federal judges have chose to bypass the legislature and make immigration law on their own. The injunction applies to cities nationwide.
Chicago officials said 37 municipal and county governments also filed briefs in support of the suit. Cautioning that the Justice Department's approach could cause "irreparable harm", he also pointed to concerns over mistrust between the public and law enforcement.
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