A federal appeals court in Chicago has sharply rebuked the Trump administration policy of threatening to withhold grant money from so-called sanctuary cities to force them to comply with its immigration policies. The court says the policy violates separation-of-powers provisions enshrined in the Constitution.
The executive branch’s authority on immigration policy doesn’t include withholding funds from cities that were allocated from the legislative branch, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
“Such a concentration of power would allow tyranny to flourish, and our system of government is wisely set up by the Founders to foreclose such a danger,” Judge Ilana Rovner, who authored the 95-page ruling, wrote.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was elated. The litigation stretches back to Donald Trump’s first year as president.
“When I got the news from our corporation counsel earlier this morning, I let out a cheer,” Lightfoot told reporters. She added, “This is a great victory, not only for Chicago, but for our immigrant and refugee communities everywhere in the country.”
The Justice Department has the option of appealing the decision to the Supreme Court, where the administration has had more success with challenges to its immigration agenda, the Daily Caller reported.
The issue has been an especially volatile one in Chicago.
When the city refused to honor an ICE detainer request on an illegal alien in June 2019, the person went on to allegedly sexually assault a toddler in a public bathroom — and there was a fierce backlash, the Daily Caller reported at the time.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.