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Federal judge rules against Trump in Philadelphia sanctuary city case

Federal judge rules against Trump in Philadelphia sanctuary city case
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A federal judge on Wednesday ruled in favor of the city of Philadelphia over whether the Trump administration could withhold law enforcement grants over city officials' “sanctuary city” policies.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that a federal judge said the Trump administration's policy to withhold certain law enforcement grants based on local immigration policies “violates statutory and constitutional law,” and said that the city's policy of not complying fully with federal immigration authorities was “reasonable, rational” and “equitable.”

The verdict follows a similar ruling from a different federal judge over Philadelphia's policy last year. That judge found that the city proved withholding the grants would cause “irreparable damage” to the city's law enforcement abilities.

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The Department of Justice appealed that judge's ruling in January, setting up Wednesday’s decision. Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsFBI investigated whether McCabe leaked info about Flynn and Trump to media Ex-Senate Intel staffer pleads guilty to lying to feds over contacts with journalists House Judiciary chairman threatens to subpoena Rosenstein MORE has vowed to use law enforcement grants as a way to coerce cities and municipalities sanctuary city policies to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, a policy that has set off a string of lawsuits in blue and purple states around the country.

In his original ruling last year, U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson called it a "misnomer" to label Philadelphia a "sanctuary city" and repeated statistics often used by local lawmakers noting that immigrant populations in the city do not contribute to high crime rates.

"Philadelphia is not a sanctuary for anyone involved in criminal conduct, nor is it a sanctuary as to any law enforcement investigation, prosecution, or imprisonment after having been found guilty of a crime," Baylson said in his ruling.

"There is no evidence on the record whatsoever that non-citizens in Philadelphia commit any more crimes than the citizens," he said.