Attorneys for Chicago on Monday asked a federal judge for a nationwide halt to Trump administration requirements that cities enforce tough immigration laws in order to receive some federal grants, staking out a leadership role for the nation’s third largest city in the fight over so-called sanctuary cities.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proclaimed the city a sanctuary for immigrants in the country illegally and has refused to allow immigration police access to city jails without a warrant. Last month Chicago sued the Trump administration over the new rules.
During a court hearing Monday, attorneys argued over whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions has the authority to bar Chicago from receiving federal grants to buy police equipment if it refuses to share information about people in custody who may be in the country illegally.
U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber did not rule Monday on the city’s request for a “nationwide injunction” and did not say when he might decide. At stake is Chicago’s request for $2.2 million in federal funds _ $1.5 million for the city and the rest for Cook County and 10 other suburbs.
Chicago is leading the charge for cities and counties across the country. More than 30 jurisdictions filed court briefs supporting Chicago’s suit, and have up to $35 million in grants at stake. At least seven cities and counties, including Seattle and San Francisco, as well as the state of California, are refusing to cooperate with the new federal rules.
Sessions wants local authorities to give “where practicable” 48 hours-notice before releasing from custody anyone federal agents suspect of being in the United States illegally, and require the agents access to local jails.
The court arguments boiled down to whether Sessions has the authority to withhold the grant money.
“Congress mandated that the Attorney General SHALL allocate (the funds); It does not give him the authority not to do this,” attorney for Chicago Ronald Safer said.
By Associated press for VOA NEWS
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