Federal judge in Chicago blocks Trump administration’s hold on grants to sanctuary cities

Immigration Law


A federal judge in Chicago on Friday issued a nationwide injunction blocking the Trump administration from refusing to release public safety grants to sanctuary cities that don’t cooperate in immigration enforcement.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber issued the preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed in August by the city of Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The grant at issue is called the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, which benefits law enforcement. Leinenweber enjoined two new restrictions placed on the grants in July by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The first generally required cities to give federal agents 48 hours’ notice before people suspected of immigration violations were released from jail. The second said cities had to provide local jail access to immigration agents.

Leinenweber said Sessions did not have statutory authority to place those restrictions on the grants, and his effort to impose them violates the separation of powers doctrine.

An initial restriction, adopted last year, said cities receiving federal grants had to certify they were complying with a federal law that bars local governments from restricting the sharing of immigration status with federal immigration agents. Leinenweber did not enjoin that restriction.

A federal judge in San Francisco had issued a nationwide injunction barring the compliance restriction in April after finding that the Trump administration was seeking to block all federal grants to sanctuary cities. Sessions later said the judge had interpreted Trump’s order too broadly.

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