7th Circuit upholds nationwide injunction barring grant holdbacks for sanctuary cities

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A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a nationwide injunction that barred the U.S. Justice Department from withholding public safety grants from sanctuary cities that don’t cooperate in immigration enforcement.

The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a suit by the city of Chicago, report Politico, BuzzFeed News, the Chicago Sun-Times and Law360.

The panel decision upheld a preliminary injunction issued last September by U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber. He had enjoined two new restrictions placed on the grants in July by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The first generally required cities to give federal agents 48 hours’ notice before people suspected of immigration violations were released from jail. The second said cities had to provide local jail access to immigration agents.

“The attorney general in this case used the sword of federal funding to conscript state and local authorities to aid in federal civil immigration enforcement,” Judge Ilana Rovner wrote in her majority opinion. “But the power of the purse rests with Congress, which authorized the federal funds at issue and did not impose any immigration enforcement conditions on the receipt of such funds.”

Judge Daniel Manion concurred in the judgment, but wrote a partial dissent saying he disagreed with the nationwide scope of the injunction.

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