Sanctuary City Injunction Limited to Chicago by Appeals Court

(Bloomberg) -- A full panel of the U.S. appeals court in Chicago ruled Wednesday that a national injunction prohibiting the federal government from withholding law enforcement grants to so-called sanctuary cities was too broad.

The panel said the injunction can only apply to the city of Chicago.

In September, a federal judge in Chicago ruled in favor of the city, ordering the Justice Department to halt plans to withhold grants to municipalities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber said in his ruling that the injunction applied nationwide, adding that there was “no reason to think that the legal issues present in this case are restricted to Chicago.”

A three-member panel of the appellate court previously upheld Leinenweber’s ruling, maintaining the injunction. The order Wednesday will limit the injunction until the full appeals court reviews the case.

Chicago, like other sanctuary cities, doesn’t police immigration violations unless a suspect is wanted for a serious crime. The city practices a community policing strategy that “promotes cooperation between local law enforcement and immigrant communities,” Chicago said in court filings. Last year, the grant amount for Chicago was $2.3 million.

On June 18, the Trump administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court for an emergency order that would temporarily free the federal government to withhold law enforcement grants from sanctuary cities in most of the country.

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