AG Sessions gives appellate court deadline to rule in sanctuary city case

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is apparently running out of patience when it comes to his months-long fight with Chicago over its so-called sanctuary city policies.

So his lawyer Thursday set a deadline — for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“We respectfully request that this court rule on our stay motion by the close of business on June 18, 2018,” Justice Department lawyer Katherine Twomey Allen wrote in a letter to the 7th Circuit. “If it has not done so, the Solicitor General has determined that we will promptly seek relief from the Supreme Court.”

A nationwide injunction is stopping Sessions from applying new conditions to grant money to force cities to cooperate with immigration authorities. The “stay motion” Allen referenced would, if granted, temporarily limit the injunction to Chicago.

Earlier this month, the 7th Circuit said it would reconsider whether the injunction should apply nationwide at all. But Sessions separately asked the 7th Circuit to limit it to Chicago while his appeal plays out. In her letter, Allen said the Justice Department has been waiting to issue grant money “because the Department believes that it has the lawful authority to impose the conditions.”

“Further delay in issuance of the grants would hinder the flow of funding to support law-enforcement activity around the country, impose particular burdens for localities with relatively small budgets, and disrupt state grant-making processes under which states issue sub-awards of grant funds,” Allen wrote.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber first entered the injunction in September. The appellate court upheld it — as well as its national implications — in a 35-page opinion in April.

The grant at issue is the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, used by local governments for law enforcement needs like police cruisers, body cameras and community programs aimed at reducing violence.

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