Federal judge blocks Trump from denying funds to sanctuary cities

Federal judge blocks Trump from denying funds to sanctuary cities
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A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration's rules requiring so-called sanctuary cities to help enforce federal immigration laws in order to receive funding.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday after Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat House passes concealed carry gun bill Rosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee next week MORE announced new rules governing DOJ law enforcement grants, The Chicago Tribune reports.

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The city of Chicago sued the Trump administration last month over the DOJ’s threat to withhold those grants from "sanctuary cities," which are cities that refuse to help federal authorities enforce immigration laws.

Leinenweber said in his 41-page ruling that Chicago had shown a "likelihood of success" in its arguments that Sessions exceeded his authority in July when he announced that the DOJ would withhold public safety grants to sanctuary cities.

The judge, who was appointed by former President Ronald Reagan, explained that he halted the DOJ policy nationwide because there is "no reason to think that the legal issues present in this case are restricted to Chicago or that the statutory authority given to the Attorney General would differ in another jurisdiction."

In July, the agency announced that a popular grant program that provides money to local law enforcement for training and supplies would only apply "to cities and states that comply with federal law, allow federal immigration access to detention facilities, and provide 48 hours notice before they release an illegal alien wanted by federal authorities."

Sessions condemned sanctuary cities like Chicago, arguing that policies that prohibit local law enforcement from aiding Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents makes cities less safe.

“So-called sanctuary policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes,” Sessions said in a statement at the time.

“These policies also encourage illegal immigration and even human trafficking by perpetuating the lie that in certain cities, illegal aliens can live outside the law."
 
– John Bowden contributed

Updated: 4:50 p.m.