CHICAGO (Reuters) - A federal judge on Friday barred the U.S. Justice Department from denying public-safety grants to so-called sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with the Trump administration's crackdown on illegal immigration.
The preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber was in response to a legal challenge brought by Chicago, the third-largest city in the United States, but the judge ruled that his order would be nationwide in scope.
Chicago sued in August after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department would bar cities from receiving certain grants unless they allowed federal immigration authorities unlimited access to local jails and provided 48 hours' notice before releasing anyone wanted for immigration violations.
President Donald Trump has made tougher immigration enforcement a centerpiece of his campaign and presidency, along with a pledge to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.
As part of the policy, the Justice Department has sought to punish cities and other local jurisdictions that resist efforts to assist federal immigration officials in detaining people sought for deportation.
In granting his injunction, Judge Leinenweber found that the city of Chicago has established "a likelihood of success" in prevailing on the merits of its case once the lawsuit is considered in its entirety.
(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzalez in Chicago; Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; editing by Grant McCool)