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

17 September 2017
Jeff Sessions can't withhold grant money from sanctuary cities, judge rules

First, Congress blocked him from using federal funds to crack down on legal weed, then everybody found out about Donald Trump addressing him in the Oval as an "idiot", and now a federal judge has blocked one of dude's few remaining reasons for sticking around a White House that hates him - screwing over sanctuary cities.

Whether or not the ruling means that Judge Leinenweber will ultimately decide in favor of the city is unclear, but he did demonstrate that the city had a good case.

"Forcing reluctant cities to help round up undocumented immigrants", Bloomberg reports, "was a key component of the president's campaign vow to rid the US of "bad hombres" entering from Mexico".

So-called sanctuary cities have always been a source of frustration for the Trump administration, which has instituted a harsh crackdown on immigration across the country.

"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", Justice Department spokesperson Devin O'Malley said. But in a recent court hearing, lawyers for the city said that more than 30 other jurisdictions across the United States had filed court briefs supporting Chicago's lawsuit, and that up to $35 million in grants was at stake.

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

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.

Leinenweber also wrote that the city of Chicago's immigrant communities could suffer "irreparable harm" if it followed the Trump administration's policies on complying with ICE.

A federal judge placed an injunction on Attorney General Jeff Sessions's new rules aimed at sanctuary cities. "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". Several weeks later, the city of Chicago sued Sessions, arguing that the new policy violated both the Constitution and federal law.

Lawyers for the city also claimed that withholding funding creates a risky precedent in which the federal government could begin withholding money from jurisdictions that disagree with the president's priorities.

Practically speaking, the order means that state police troopers or officers with other state law enforcement agencies will not be allowed to question a crime victim or a witness about his citizenship or residency.

The administration has made such jurisdictions a key focus of its immigration agenda - arguing that such policies are a public safety threat.

The case involves cities that vowed to shield illegal immigrants.

Immigration hard-liners, including in the White House, are concerned that a law allowing those young people to become USA citizens, would then allow them to sponsor their parents and close relatives for lawful permanent residence, increasing the number of immigrants in the country.

President Trump later announced he was working on an agreement to protect them. "We can get you to a sanctuary city where that city will help shield you from immigration".