Federal judge puts Sessions' anti-sanctuary city plan on hold

Federal judge puts Sessions' anti-sanctuary city plan on hold

Federal judge puts Sessions' anti-sanctuary city plan on hold

U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber in IL said in a 41-page ruling that Attorney General Jeff Sessions likely overstepped his authority in efforts to urge sanctuary cities to give federal agents access to jails or tip them off when a suspected undocumented immigrant is scheduled for release.

As part of that policy, the Justice Department has sought to punish cities and other local jurisdictions that have joined a growing "sanctuary" movement aimed at shielding illegal immigrants from stepped-up deportation efforts.

He said the city had shown a "likelihood of success" in arguing that Sessions exceeded his authority with the new conditions.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says a federal judge's ruling that Attorney General Jeff Sessions can not withhold grant money to so-called sanctuary cities is a clear statement "that the Trump administration is wrong".

A federal judge has handed a defeat to Attorney General Jeff Sessions as he looks to punish so-called "sanctuary cities" such as NY.

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

The announcement came just days after a nationwide conversation about Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the USA illegally as children. President Trump later announced that he was working on an agreement to protect them. "The Department of Justice will continue to fully enforce existing law and to defend lawful and reasonable grant conditions that seek to protect communities and law enforcement".

In a news conference, Emanuel praised the ruling as an "affirmation of the rule of law". The Trump administration, on the other hand, has accused sanctuary cities of putting politics over public safety. "It's a win for cities, counties, and states across the country", said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The Justice Department demanded that cities give ICE agents access to jails and report when an undocumented immigrant was released.

Sessions called Chicago's August 7 lawsuit "astounding", saying the city has gone through an unprecedented violent crime surge, "with the number of murders in 2016 surpassing both NY and Los Angeles combined". And it has made a similar argument if the city were to follow the new requirements. "Once such trust is lost, it can not be repaired through an award of money damages, making it the type of harm that is especially hard to rectify", Leinenweber writes. Total funding for such grants this year was $383.5 million, according to the Justice Department.

The judge said it was likely Attorney General Jeff Sessions had overstepped his authority with the order. The injunction applies to cities nationwide.

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

But Chicago took the federal government to court and won an injunction.

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