A federal appeals court said the Trump administration can withhold funds from New York City and seven states that have declared themselves sanctuaries from federal immigration policies, setting the stage for U.S. Supreme Court action, reports the Wall Street Journal. Wednesday’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said President Donald Trump acted within his authority when he signed an executive order in 2017 to withhold federal funds from states that resisted helping federal efforts to enforce immigration laws. The decision overturned a lower court’s order requiring Trump to release federal funds to New York City and New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, Massachusetts, Virginia and Rhode Island.
The city and states argued that the funds were withheld for political purposes. Local law-enforcement officials have said cooperating with federal immigration agencies would discourage immigrants from reporting crimes and cooperating with investigations. Since Trump’s executive order, other localities have also sued the Justice Department to block the immigration-related conditions placed on federal funding. The department has said it can impose conditions on local jurisdictions that receive federal grants, including receiving access to illegal immigrants housed in prisons and jails and notice of their release date. The decision conflicts with rulings on the same issue by three other federal appeals courts, potentially leaving it to the Supreme Court to decide. Wednesday’s ruling involves funds allocated by Congress to cities and states through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program.