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Published: Tue, September 19, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Judge: Sessions can't deny grant money for sanctuary cities

Judge: Sessions can't deny grant money for sanctuary cities

"You can not make a city not only abandon its values and its principles, but in my view, from a public safety standpoint, if this policy was allowed to stand, you would be driving a wedge between our immigrant community and our police department", Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

Early last month, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel (D) announced a lawsuit against the Department of Justice over the department's assertion that the city could be denied grants over its immigration stance.

Federal judge in Chicago blocks Trump administration's...

San Francisco, Los Angeles and the state of California also sued the federal government over the threat of losing Byrne grants.

There are very good reasons why many metropolitan police departments refuse to get involved in checking and enforcing people's immigration statuses, the main one being the downward pressure it exerts on the undocumented.

In a news conference, Emanuel praised the ruling as an "affirmation of the rule of law".

Among the Justice Department's new demands, cities receiving the grants would be required to permit federal immigration officers to access local jails, and local law enforcement would be required to provide Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials with a 48-hour notice before releasing detained undocumented immigrants sought by ICE.

Chicago's lawyers argue that DOJ's new policy exceeds the authority Congress has conferred on the department by statute, and that this policy also violates state sovereignty as protected by the Constitution's Tenth Amendment.

Justice Department spokesmen did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. The judge issued a preliminary injunction - which means the administration is blocked temporarily while the case makes its way through the courts.

Judge Leinenweber agreed, writing, "The harm to the city's relationship with the immigrant community if it should accede to the conditions is irreparable". Trump later announced he was working on an agreement to protect them.

The ruling is another blow to Sessions, a longtime champion of tougher immigration laws.

"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", O'Malley said.

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