Southeastern PA

Judge sides with Philadelphia in 'sanctuary cities' case

Justice Department determining next step

PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge has blocked the U.S. government from withholding a major grant because Philadelphia is a "sanctuary city."

U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson said in his decision issued Wednesday that he weighed the public interest and possible harm that could come from the withholding of such funds.

"I am gratified that the judge recognized what the city has maintained all along. We are in compliance with federal law, and attaching immigration-related conditions to a grant having nothing to do with immigration is harmful to Philadelphians' safety," said city solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante.

A spokesman said the Justice Department is reviewing the ruling and determining next steps.

The city filed suit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions in August.

Sessions has said that cities that don't help enforce immigration law are endangering public safety, especially when it comes to sharing information about immigrants who have been accused of crimes.

The Justice Department has threatened to cut off millions of dollars in federal grants to cities if they don't meet certain criteria for cooperating with immigration officials.

"Today's ruling benefits every single Philadelphia resident," said Mayor Jim Kenney. "Our police officers and criminal justice partners will receive much-needed federal funding, and our city will be able to continue practices that keep our communities safe and provide victims and witnesses the security to come forward."


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