The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

The Trump Administration Is Fighting Chicago's Legal Win As A Sanctuary City

By Stephen Gossett in News on Sep 27, 2017 2:00PM

Attorney General Jeff Sessions / Getty Images / Photo: Win McNamee

The Trump administration is appealing a judge’s decision that prevents the federal government from withholding grant money from so-called sanctuary cities.

According to the Tribune, the Department of Justice wrote in a memorandum that it believes the judge’s injunction is “improper” and that the stipulations the DOJ seeks to tie to the federal grant money are “lawful.”

On Sept. 15, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber sided with Chicago, which argued that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had overstepped his authority by seeking to withhold Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants from cities, like Chicago, whose law enforcement does not cooperate with federal immigration agents to the degree sought by the administration.

Mayor Emanuel responded on Tuesday saying in a statement that the administration will "fight the Trump Justice Department's unlawful attack on Chicago's values any time, any place, because we are on the right side morally and the right side legally."

Sessions announced in July that in order to receive the grant, local authorities would be required to give the federal government a 48-hour notice window prior to releasing an arrestee suspected of being an undocumented immigrant. The DOJ also called for federal immigration officials to be given unlimited access to local police stations and other law enforcement facilities.

Chicago filed suit in August, arguing that such withholding of funds was unconstitutional. "The executive branch of the federal government may not arrogate to itself the powers that our Constitution reserves to Congress, on the one hand, or to state and local governments on the other," the suit read.

Leinenweber in his pro-Chicago ruling called the DOJ’s maneuver an “unprecedented seizure of power." He granted a nationwide injunction on the DOJ’s guidelines.

Sessions blasted Chicago’s "culture of lawlessness" shortly after the city filed its lawsuit and eight days later blamed the city’s crime on its sanctuary-city status. According to the New York Times, available evidence does not support the theory that undocumented immigrants are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime.