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

16 September, 2017, 02:27 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Susan Walsh  AP

A federal judge in Chicago just blocked Attorney General Jeff Sessions from withholding grant money from so-called sanctuary cities that do not cooperate with the Trump administration's strict immigration enforcement policies.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber granted the city's request for a preliminary injunction to prevent those first two conditions from going into effect.

The ruling means the Justice Department can not deny grant money requests until Chicago's lawsuit against the agency is concluded.

The city of Chicago sued the Trump administration in August after it threatened to withhold funds from sanctuary cities, and refused to comply with the Justice Department's demand that it allow immigration agents access to local jails and notify agents when someone in the U.S.is about to be released from custody.

More on this as it develops.

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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 injunction is "nationwide in scope", Leinenweber said, "there being no reason to think that the legal issues present in this case are restricted to Chicago".

Justice Department spokesmen did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

The grant at issue is called the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, and the funds benefit law enforcement.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January declaring that such places would not be eligible for federal grants, and Sessions has tried to make the threat a reality. "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".

"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 added, according to Bloomberg.

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