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U.S. Court of Appeals Says Federal Funds Can Be Withheld from Sanctuary Jurisdictions




WASHINGTON DC – The Trump administration has the authority to withhold federal funding from sanctuary jurisdictions, ruled the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit last week. 

“While mindful of the respect owed to our sister circuits, we cannot agree that the federal government must be enjoined from imposing the challenged conditions on the federal grants here at issue,” the 2nd Circuit three-judge panel said in a decision written by Judge Reena Raggi.

“These conditions help the federal government enforce national immigration laws and policies supported by successive Democratic and Republican administrations. But more to the authorization point, they ensure that applicants satisfy particular statutory grant requirements imposed by Congress and subject to Attorney General oversight,” the appeals court said.

The three-judge panel overturned a district court’s initial ruling that the administration lacked the authority to pull federal funding from communities that do not cooperate with federal immigration officials. The funds discussed in the decision revolve around the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, which disperses $25 million annually in criminal justice grants.

Created in 2006, it is the vehicle through which Congress annually dispenses over $250 million in federal funding for state and local criminal justice efforts.

The ruling is a significant win for the administration, as it will help crack down on sanctuary jurisdictions nationwide. Sanctuary jurisdictions continue to defy federal immigration law by not cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

The administration’s victory is in addition to its recent initiatives against sanctuary jurisdictions. These include:

  • Filing federal lawsuits against sanctuary jurisdictions, including King County (Seattle), Washington and New Jersey.
  • Placing restrictions on New York’s Trusted Travel Programs (federal programs that expedite travel) in response to the state’s passage of its new law allowing driver’s licenses for illegal aliens and its sanctuary policies.
  • Deploying roughly 100 elite U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel to sanctuary cities to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrest criminal illegal aliens.
  • Subpoenaing state and local law enforcement agencies in Colorado, Connecticut, New York, Oregon, and California to obtain information on criminal illegal aliens.


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