The U.S. Department of Justice violated the separation of powers doctrine and principles of federalism when it threatened to withhold from the city of Philadelphia more than $1 million in grant money due to its immigration policies, Philadelphia has argued as part of its efforts to fend off an appeal from the DOJ.

In June, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania determined that the DOJ cannot withhold the funding based on Philadelphia’s so-called sanctuary city policies, and on Oct. 4, the city filed a brief asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to affirm that decision.

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