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Trump's efforts to crack down on sanctuary cities dealt a major blow

Trump's efforts to crack down on sanctuary cities dealt a major blow

A Chicago federal judge ruled on Friday the US Justice Department can't withhold millions of dollars in grants supporting public safety from cities that refuse to share with federal officials the immigration status of suspects in custody.

The judge issued a temporary nationwide injunction in response to a lawsuit brought by the city of Chicago.

The ruling blocks nationwide enforcement of two of the three new conditions the Justice Department sought to impose on jurisdictions seeking funds through the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant, which doles out almost $400 million to state and local agencies each year.

In granting his injunction, Judge Leinenweber found that the city of Chicago has established "a likelihood of success" in prevailing on the merits of its case once the lawsuit is considered in its entirety. Sessions responded harshly, saying that the Trump administration wouldn't "simply give away grant money to city governments that proudly violate the rule of law and protect criminal aliens at the expense of public safety".

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

Trump, however, on 14 September expressed sympathy for those protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which offered young illegal immigrants an eventual path to permanent residency and citizenship. President Trump later announced that he was working on an agreement to protect them.

It's unclear whether the ruling means the Leinenweber will ultimately decide in favor of the city.

The ruling has the power to impact at least seven cities and counties, as well as the state of California, that have defied the Justice Departments' new rules.

A federal judge in Chicago has blocked an order requiring cities to fully cooperate with immigration officials or risk losing some federal funding. "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". Total funding for such grants this year was $383.5 million, according to the Justice Department. 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".

The preliminary injunction issued by a United States district judge was in response to a legal challenge brought by Chicago, the third-largest city in the US.

Trump's opponents also say there is no correlation between immigration and violent crime, citing a sharp drop in homicides in Los Angeles since the early 1990s, despite embracing the sanctuary cities movement.


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