Washington: United States President Donald Trump’s illegal immigrant agenda on Friday got setback from a court that barred the U.S. Justice Department from denying public-safety grants to so-called sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions had threatened to withhold public safety grant money to Chicago and other so-called sanctuary cities for refusing to impose new tough immigration policies.
U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber ruled that the Justice Department cannot impose the requirements.
The judge passed the order while hearing a plea of Chicago but ruled that his order would be applied on a nationwide basis.
Sessions asked the cities to allow federal immigration authorities unlimited access to local jails and provide 48 hours’ notice before releasing anyone wanted for immigration violations.
Judge Harry D. Leinenweber said Chicago had shown a “likelihood of success” in arguing that Sessions exceeded his authority with the new conditions.
The city had asked the judge for a “nationwide” temporary injunction this week, asking the judge not to allow the Justice Department to impose the requirements until the city’s lawsuit against the department plays out in court.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the ruling a victory for cities, counties and states nationwide and “a clear statement that the Trump administration is wrong.”
“It means essential resources for public safety will not come with unlawful strings attached, and the Trump justice department cannot continue to coerce us into violating and abandoning our values,” Emanuel said.
Trump is eyeing tougher immigration measures and has pledged to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.
Trump, however, on Thursday 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.
The DACA programme had been established by executive order by President Barack Obama. On Sept. 5, Trump rescinded the program, and said the programme would be phased out in six months, unless Congress came up with a fix. Trump later adopted a softer tone toward the 800,000 immigrants protected by DACA, telling them not to worry about being deported.