City of Chicago v. Barr, No. 19-3290 (7th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Attorney General imposed conditions on the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne JAG), 34 U.S.C.10151, which the primary source of federal criminal justice enforcement funding for state and local governments. The district court granted a preliminary injunction as to conditions that required that state or local officials honor requests to provide federal agents advance notice of the scheduled release of aliens in custody and that state or local correctional facilities give federal agents access to aliens in their custody. The Seventh Circuit upheld a nationwide injunction. The district court granted a permanent injunction and invalidated a condition requiring that state or local governments certify their compliance with 8 U.S.C. 1373, which prohibits them from restricting their officials from communicating information regarding the citizenship or immigration status of any individual to the INS, was unconstitutional but stayed the injunction to the extent that it applied beyond Chicago.
The Seventh Circuit again held that the Attorney General cannot pursue the executive branch's policy objectives through the power of the purse or the arm of local law enforcement, rejecting the Attorney General’s assertion that Congress itself provided that authority in the language of the statutes. Chicago has determined that effective law enforcement requires the cooperation of its undocumented residents; such cooperation cannot be accomplished if those residents fear immigration consequences should they communicate with the police; and, local law enforcement must remain independent from federal immigration enforcement. The Byrne JAG grant was enacted to support the needs of local law enforcement to help fight crime, but “is being used as a hammer to further a completely different policy of the executive branch.” States do not forfeit all autonomy over their own police power merely by accepting federal grants. There is no reason to stay the application of the injunction.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on June 4, 2020.