Federal Judge Attacks Trump, Rules in Favor of Illegal Aliens


A federal judge has sided with the city of Chicago and against the Department of Justice, saying that the DOJ doesn’t have the authority to withhold public safety funds based on Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city and its refusal to work with federal authorities regarding illegal aliens in police custody, the Chicago Tribune reported.

In a Friday ruling, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber granted the city a permanent injunction against DOJ conditions for the funding, including cooperating with a federal law that disallows restrictions on sharing of immigration status information between local and federal authorities and requiring cities to permit the Department of Homeland Security to access the facilities of local law enforcement.

These preconditions clashed with local Chicago law, which, according to the Tribune, “bars police from granting ICE officials access to people in Chicago police custody, except when they’re wanted on a criminal warrant or have a serious criminal conviction.”

“Police also cannot allow ICE agents to use their facilities for investigations, and on-duty officers are not allowed to respond to ICE inquiries or communicate with ICE officials about a person’s custody status or release,” the Tribune added.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had warned cities that failure to comply with the regulations would mean a loss of Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants — a major chunk of funding for cities, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

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Thus did the city of Chicago decide to sue the federal government last August, apparently believing that refusal to cooperate with the federal government in the most basic of ways still shouldn’t mean local officials should be deprived of funding from that selfsame federal government. And at least for now, they’ve prevailed.

“Today’s opinion in favor of Chicago and against the Trump Justice Department marks a major win for all Chicagoans and a significant victory for public safety,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement after the ruling, apparently unfamiliar with what the words “public” or “safety” mean.

“We will never be coerced or intimidated into abandoning our values as a welcoming city,” the statement continued.

“Welcoming immigrants, refugees and dreamers from every corner of the globe is part of Chicago’s history, and part of our future, no matter which way the political winds are blowing in Washington.”

Do you think the federal government has the authority to defund sanctuary cities?

The great irony here, of course, is that the regulations apply to those who are in police custody. Chicago is apparently “a welcoming city,” yet not so welcoming that these “immigrants, refugees and dreamers from every corner of the globe” are free on the streets.

This isn’t saying they’re guilty of whatever charge has put them behind bars, mind you, merely noting a certain omission in Mayor Emanuel’s statement: Sanctuary city policies don’t necessarily deal with garden-variety illegal aliens, so to speak, merely those that have run afoul of the law to an even greater extent than simply being in the country illegally.

The illegal immigrants Emanuel is so proud of defending have allegedly done something serious enough to lead to their incarceration, but not enough to suggest that their stay in this country oughtn’t be shortened even though they weren’t even legally here in the first place.

Mayor Emanuel has chosen to break his lance with the Trump administration over immigration before, particularly after the president’s decision that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program should be decided by legislators and not the executive branch. In that instance, Emanuel decided to take the step of symbolically banning the president (or at least his decision) from the city.

“This is your home and you have nothing to worry about,” Emanuel said at a Sept. 2017 press conference. “Our schools, our neighborhoods, our city — as it relates to what President Trump said — will be a Trump-free zone.”

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Yes, I’m sure that’s legally enforceable.

In the same vein, we’ll see how this decision holds up. While Judge Leinenweber said that there was “no reason to think that the legal issues present in this case are restricted to Chicago,” they will be for the moment, at least thanks to 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Last month, the court ruled that a preliminary injunction issued by Leinenweber last year applied only to the Windy City, at least until the full court decides upon the case. Arguments in that case are set for early September. Then we’ll likely get a better idea of whether, in the words of Chicago Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel, “the Attorney General lacks the authority to create the grant conditions we have challenged.”

Until then, this remains a troubling legal defense of the rights of illegal aliens accused or convicted of criminal activities against the general general good — all in the name of political expediency, or what Democrats like Rahm Emanuel call “public safety.”

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture