The Trump administration has delivered on its promise to stop those cities that limit or deny cooperation with the federal government from receiving taxpayer money.
President Donald Trump confirmed the Department of Justice (DOJ) will be banned from awarding so-called sanctuary cities any Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants, following a favorable federal appeals court ruling.
“As per recent federal court ruling, the federal government will be withholding funds from sanctuary cities,” the president said on Twitter.
New York City’s 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals recently confirmed the Trump administration is legally allowed to block the funding, effectively overruling an earlier judgment from the New York Southern District Court that prevented the administration from withholding grant money back in 2017.
Sanctuary cities will no longer receive any grant funding unless they fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities when information is requested about criminals in custody. They will also become ineligible to receive future grants until they comply.
The grant has provided nearly $53 million to sanctuary states in the 2019 financial year according to a statement from Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s (R-Tenn.) office.
The DOJ welcomed the appeals court’s decision.
“[This] decision rightfully recognizes the lawful authority of the attorney general to ensure that DOJ grant recipients are not at the same time thwarting federal law enforcement priorities,” a DOJ spokesman said in a statement obtained by Fox News.
The president believes the action sends a clear message to many jurisdictions that use the grant as a major source of federal criminal justice funding.
“They should change their status and go non-sanctuary,” he said. “Do not protect criminals.”
A separate law requires unallocated funds to be returned to the department’s program within 30 days, if states either continue to issue driver licenses to illegal aliens or fail to share immigration enforcement information with the Department of Homeland Security.
House Republicans’ Stop Greenlighting Driver Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Act recently proposed blocking sanctuary states from receiving federal funding if they keep issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens without sufficient proof of presence.
“Immigrants must follow the proper federal process and obtain citizenship or lawful status before obtaining a state driver license,” Blackburn said in an earlier statement.
In summarizing the court’s decision, Circuit Judges Ralph Winter, Jose Cabranes, and Reena Raggi stressed the federal government must not be prevented from putting conditions on federal grant eligibility.
“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 trio said in their judgment.