(National Sentinel) Overruled: A federal judge on Monday ruled that the Trump administration does not have to immediately pay California $1 million in Justice Department grant funding over concerns about the state’s “sanctuary” law protecting illegal immigrants from federal immigration enforcement agents.
As reported by the Washington Times, U.S. District Judge William Orrick said that relatively small amount of money was not denied at this point but merely delayed. In rejecting California’s demand that the money be paid immediately, he also rejected the Justice Department’s request that he dismiss California’s lawsuit.
The judge said the suit raised “weighty and novel constitutional issues” that would benefit from additional argument.
Hundreds of cities around the country along with a smattering of states have passed sanctuary laws that discourage local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities regarding people who are suspected of being in the U.S. illegally, including those who have committed crimes.
Defenders say the policies improve public safety by encouraging trust among law enforcement officials and immigrant communities. But critics say the policies encourage nothing but blatant law-breaking by those who have entered the country illegally, even as scores of other immigrants attempt to do so by the book.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this year said he instructed the Justice Department to look into ways it could withhold law enforcement grant funding to cities and states that were openly thwarting federal immigration efforts — which is a violation of grant conditions.
In January, the DoJ sent letters to 23 jurisdictions warning they will face legal action in federal court unless they reverse policies that shield illegal immigrants from deportation.
In July 2017, Sessions announced that cities and states could only receive Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grants if they cooperated with federal immigration authorities, which is a condition of the grant, the Times reported.
In particular, sanctuary jurisdictions have to prove they are complying with 8 United States Code 1373, a section of the federal statutes that prohibit cities and jurisdictions from enacting laws restricting communication between local officials and federal immigration agents.
“I continue to urge all jurisdictions under review to reconsider policies that place the safety of their communities and their residents at risk,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law.”
The Times reported that a federal judge in Chicago blocked the advance notice and access requirements last year in a ruling that applied to the entire country.
“But U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber said the DOJ could require Byrne Memorial grant recipients to certify compliance with the federal immigration law at issue,” the Times reported further.
In September, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 3-0 ruling, upheld the state of Texas’ law banning sanctuary cities.
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