President Donald Trump’s administration can withhold millions of dollars in law enforcement funds from states and cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Wednesday, Reuters informs.
The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan was a victory for Trump in his years-long fight with so-called sanctuary jurisdictions.
It overturned a lower court ruling directing the release of federal funds to New York City and the states of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington, Reuters adds.
The states and city sued over a 2017 policy conditioning receipt of the funds by state and local governments on their giving federal immigration officials access to their jails, and advance notice when immigrants in the country illegally are being released from custody.
Three federal appeals courts in Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco have upheld injunctions barring enforcement of at least some of the administration’s conditions on the so-called Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants.
Wednesday’s decision sets up a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which often resolves legal disputes that divide lower courts.
In the decision, Judge Reena Raggi said the case “implicates several of the most divisive issues confronting our country” including immigration policy and law enforcement, illegal immigrants, and the ability of state and local governments to adopt policies the federal government dislikes.
A U.S. Justice Department spokesman called the decision a “major victory for Americans” in recognizing Attorney General William Barr’s authority to ensure that grant recipients do not thwart federal law enforcement priorities.