By DON BABWIN
CHICAGO — Attorney General Jeff Sessions can’t follow through — at least for now — with his threat to withhold public safety grant money to Chicago and other so-called sanctuary cities for refusing to impose new tough immigration policies, a judge ruled Friday in a legal defeat for the Trump administration.
In what is at least a temporary victory for cities that have defied Sessions, U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber ruled that the Justice Department could not impose the requirements.
He said the city had shown a “likelihood of success” in arguing that Sessions exceeded his authority with the new conditions. Among them are requirements that cities notify immigration agents when someone in the country illegally is about to be released from local jails and to allow agents access to the jails.
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.
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.
City officials have said such a ruling would prevent the Justice Department from withholding what are called Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants to the cities based on their refusal to take the steps Sessions ordered.
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