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Judge Blocks Sanctuary City Funding Ban

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A judge has halted an attempt by the Trump administration to block sanctuary cities from obtaining funding from a federal government program.

U.S. District Court Judge Harry Leinenweber ruled that the U.S. Department of Justice cannot withhold grants from a program to fund public safety from cities that refuse to share the immigration status of detainees with federal authorities, The Hill reports.

The preliminary injunction imposed by Leinenweber came after Chicago sued the Trump administration over the plan to deny federal funding from sanctuary cities. Leinenweber noted the ban was nationwide, since there is "no reason to think that the legal issues present in this case are restricted to Chicago or that the statutory authority given to the Attorney General would differ in another jurisdiction."

"The court finds that the city has established that it would suffer irreparable harm if a preliminary injunction is not entered," Leinenweber added, according to Bloomberg.

Leinenweber also ruled that Chicago, in its legal arguments, had shown a "likelihood of success" with the allegation that Attorney General Jeff Sessions overstepped his authority when he announced the regulations in July.

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A San Francisco judge imposed a ban in April on a broader plan to prevent sanctuary cities from accessing funding. 

The federal government was attempting to enforce a regulation that would have meant DOJ funding for public safety would be accessible only "to cities and states that comply with federal law, allow federal immigration access to detention facilities, and provide 48 hours notice before they release an illegal alien wanted by federal authorities," according to The Hill.

Sessions defended the initiative when it was first announced on July 25.

"So-called sanctuary policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes," Sessions said.

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"These policies also encourage illegal immigration and even human trafficking by perpetuating the lie that in certain cities, illegal aliens can live outside the law," he added.

Sessions described Chicago's Aug. 7 lawsuit as "astounding," Bloomberg notes.

"To a degree perhaps unsurpassed by any other jurisdiction, the political leadership of Chicago has chosen deliberately and intentionally to adopt a policy that obstructs this country's lawful immigration system," Sessions added.

Other sanctuary cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, have sued the Trump administration over its attempts to cut federal funding.

The Trump administration will also face oral arguments in the Supreme Court in October over its ban on travel to the U.S. by people from six Muslim-majority countries.

Sources: The Hill, Bloomberg / Featured Image: Barry Bahler/U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Flickr / Embedded Images: Amber I. Smith/Jim Mattis/Flickr, U.S. Department of Justice

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