Jason Hopkins, Daily Caller, May 1, 2020
The Trump administration cannot withhold grant money from cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, an appeals court ruled Thursday.
President Donald Trump’s threat to withhold public safety grants from jurisdictions that don’t cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), otherwise known as “sanctuary cities,” violates the Constitution’s separation-of-powers provisions, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The decision was the latest in the ongoing court battle between the Trump administration and the city of Chicago.
The executive branch’s authority on immigration policy does not include withholding funds from cities that were allocated from the legislative branch, the appeals court found.
The court battle dates back to 2017, when the Department of Justice (DOJ) moved to withhold Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants from Chicago — a city that for years has refused to honor ICE detainer requests, share information, or otherwise cooperate with immigration agents. Then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel sued the DOJ in response.
The Justice Department has the option of appealing the decision to the Supreme Court, where the administration has enjoyed more success with challenges to its immigration agenda, but it’s not clear yet how the DOJ will proceed.
Lightfoot is proud of Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city, and her administration has specifically instructed local law enforcement not to work with ICE agents in many circumstances. The city does not honor ICE detainer requests, and has even allowed illegal aliens charged of heinous crimes to walk free without notifying the agency — which has led to some gruesome consequences.