For Immediate Release // Please Excuse Cross Posting
Monday, July 30th, 2018
Contact: Armando Carmona, 323-250-3018;

ICYMI: Another Victory for Sanctuary Cities in Federal Court

Nationwide – On Friday, Federal Judge Harry Leinenweber “a Reagan-nominated district court judge” issued a stark admonishment to Attorney General Sessions’ attacks on sanctuary cities saying that “efforts he has taken to impose immigration-related conditions on federal law enforcement grants are unconstitutional” according to CNN.

Tal Kopan from CNN reports:

The ruling will only apply to the city of Chicago for now — but the judge said he intends for his ruling to apply nationwide.

Judge Harry Leinenweber had also previously temporarily blocked the grant conditions, which the appellate court upheld. But now Leinenweber has gone even further — making his initial ruling permanent and going beyond it to strike down the underlying law, referred to as Section 1373.

The administration has pointed to the obscure law in all of its sanctuary city lawsuits, the vast majority of which it has lost. The law mandates that local governments share immigration status of individuals with the federal government.

The Justice Department has argued that law should be interpreted broadly to mandate cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. But citing a recent Supreme Court ruling, Leinenweber did the opposite — striking down the law itself as unconstitutional. Like a Philadelphia judge before him, Leinenweber has found that the Supreme Court’s recent ruling legalizing state gambling laws also applies here. The Supreme Court found in May that the federal government cannot prohibit states from passing laws they choose, in that case, legalizing gambling.

Leinenweber noted that ruling came between when he had first considered the case preliminarily and now, and based on that precedent, Section 1373 is also unconstitutional.

Pablo Alvarado, Director of NDLON, issued the following statement:

“The scapegoating of immigrants and sanctuary cities is backfiring, both legally and politically.  Sessions’ failed attack on sanctuary jurisdictions is making clear that there is considerable untapped legal authority for cities and states to use.  And politically, the appeal of calls to #AbolishICE are translating into a concrete and coherent policy agenda, one that seeks to kick ICE out of our communities. Congress may be broken, and the executive branch might be in the hands of white nationalists, but local governments are turning the tide against immigrant criminalization, and in the process, they are defending core constitutional values.”