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The mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, and the United States Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.
The mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, and the United States Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.

Philadelphia scores a big victory against Sessions’ blackmail

The federal judge studying the lawsuit filed by Philadelphia against the Department of Justice said the city meets the requirements to access federal funds.

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Philadelphia meets all the conditions of the Department of Justice to access the $ 1.6 million Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program, through which the federal government contributes part of the needs of the city's police force.

That was the testimony collected by Philly.com of federal judge Michael Bayson during a hearing held last Thursday. Although the final decision will be known in a couple of weeks, the fact that the highest authority has made such a statement means that, at least in the field of discourse, Philadelphia is right.

Late last August, the local administration demanded Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to change the rules of the game and tighten the requirements for designated jurisdictions to be "sanctuary cities," such as Philadelphia, to subscribe to the federal government's immigration policy before receiving financial support.

Basically, the new Trump administration directive asks cities interested in accessing the funds to collaborate and provide full ICE access to undocumented immigrants detained by local authorities, even 48 hours before they are released.

While the White House insists that those jurisdictions that refuse to guarantee such access would be incurring in violations of federal laws - and therefore would not meet the minimum requirements for financial aid - Mayor Jim Kenney said in August that Philadelphia it’s not breaking any law.

The scuffle between these jurisdictions reached judicial tribunals last August when several cities decided to demand the ban.

Although the judge's statement doesn’t constitute a sentence, representatives of the local administration expressed optimism about the final decision.

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