A federal appeals court on Wednesday handed a major win to the Trump administration in its fight against “sanctuary” jurisdictions, ruling that it can deny grant money to states that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York overturned a lower court ruling that stopped the administration’s 2017 move to withhold grant money from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, which dispenses over $250 million a year to state and local criminal justice efforts. “Today’s decision rightfully recognizes the lawful authority of the Attorney General to ensure that Department of Justice grant recipients are not at the same time thwarting federal law enforcement priorities,” a DOJ spokesman said in a statement. “The grant conditions here require states and cities that receive DOJ grants to share information about criminals in custody. The federal government uses this information to enforce national immigration laws–policies supported by successive Democrat and Republican administrations.” “All Americans will benefit from increased public safety as this Administration is able to implement its lawful immigration and public safety policies,” the statement said. The latest decision conflicts with rulings from other appeals courts across the country concerning sanctuary policies, indicating a Supreme Court review is ultimately likely. New York City and liberal states including New York, Washington, Massachusetts and Connecticut sued the government, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York backed them — ordering the money be released and stopping the government from putting immigration-related conditions on grants. But the appeals court ruled that it “cannot agree that the federal government must be enjoined from imposing the challenged conditions on the federal grants here at issue.” “These conditions help the federal government enforce national immigration laws and policies supported by successive Democratic and Republican administrations,” the court ruled. “But more to the authorization point, they ensure that applicants satisfy particular statutory grant requirements imposed by Congress and subject to Attorney General oversight.” It also disagreed with the district court’s claim that the conditions intrude on powers reserved only to states, noting that in immigration policy the Supreme Court has found that the federal government maintains “broad” and “preeminent” power. The ruling marks a key win for the administration in its efforts to crack down on the continued use of “sanctuary” policies that limit local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities in order to shield illegal immigrants from deportation.
Kudos to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals for their well-considered ruling. I understand it was a unanimous decision too.