Trump administration to appeal Emanuel immigration lawsuit win

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will continue the court fight with Mayor Rahm Emanuel over whether the federal government can require sanctuary cities nationwide to cooperate with immigration agents in exchange for receiving public safety grant money.

President Donald Trump's Justice Department announced Tuesday it will ask the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the Emanuel administration's win earlier this month. U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber ruled the city had shown it could suffer "irreparable harm" in its relationship with the immigrant community if it were to comply with the Justice Department's new rules.

"Once such trust is lost, it cannot be repaired through an award of money damages, making it the type of harm that is especially hard to rectify," Leinenweber wrote.

Sessions wants a stay of the ruling, which prohibited the federal government from tying Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants for cities nationwide to Sessions' proposed immigration policies.

The Justice Department wants to require cities applying for the annual grants for public safety technology to give notice when immigrants in the country illegally are about to be released from custody and allow immigration agents access to local jails.

The new regulations, announced by Sessions in July, also would require local authorities to give 48 hours' notice "where practicable" before releasing from custody people whom federal immigration agents suspect of being in the country illegally.

"Defendant respectfully believes both that the notice and access conditions are lawful and, separately, that a nationwide injunction is improper here," the Justice Department wrote in its memorandum in support of staying the injunction.

In a statement Tuesday, Emanuel said his administration would "fight the Trump Justice Department's unlawful attack on Chicago's values any time, any place, because we are on the right side morally and the right side legally."

jebyrne@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @_johnbyrne

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