Prior to US District Judge Harry Leinenweber’s ruling Friday afternoon, the Trump administration had threatened to yank public safety grants from the government to anyplace that designated itself as a “sanctuary city.” It would have stripped away an important source of funds for law enforcement, prosecution, and related expenses.
Think about the irony of the Justice Department saying “If you don’t follow the law the way we say you should, we will make it harder for you to follow the law at all.”
The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants total nearly $200 million in nationwide grants for state and local law enforcement. The DOJ said in July that it would withhold those funds unless sanctuary cities:
- Notified the DOJ when “illegals” were in the area
- Allowed immigration officials access to jails
- Entered a notice with Justice when “illegals” being held were about to be released
Why do I use quotation marks around the word “illegals?” Obviously I’m editorializing here, but I grew up in a community that would have been devastated if, one day, immigration forces swept every undocumented worker up and deported them. I still have a little bit of a hard time with the concept of destroying families, ruining lives, and killing children by taking away parents, all because someone of the wrong color crossed an imaginary line drawn in an imaginary country on a rock floating in the vastness of space. Because someone, somewhere might get something they don’t “deserve” to have because they were born 1,500 miles too far south. Or maybe 15 miles. Maybe they were born on the wrong side of a fence.
How could we not give sanctuary to someone just trying to survive?
The ruling was handed down in Chicago, where Judge Leinenweber said that Mayor Rahm Emanuel had shown the city would suffer “irreparable harm” in its relationship with the immigrant community, should it comply with the DOJ’s demands.
Gee, you think? If only Jeff Sessions understood (or cared) about what the Judge stated in his 41-page ruling:
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.
Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice, and the entire Trump administration are lost in a sea of white. They simply cannot comprehend the value of immigrants and their contributions to society. They see them as less than human.
You can weep with me at the larger picture, but for now, let’s celebrate these court victories as they come.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore/flickr
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