Preventing those cities that limit cooperation with the federal government from receiving taxpayer money is within the law, a federal appeals court ruled on Feb. 26.
New York City’s 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has confirmed the Trump administration is legally allowed to ban the Department of Justice (DOJ) from awarding sanctuary cities any Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants. The decision effectively overrules an earlier judgment from the New York Southern District Court that prevented the administration from withholding grant money back in 2017.
“[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.
Many jurisdictions use as a major source of federal criminal justice funding and 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.
However, sanctuary cities will not 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.
“All Americans will benefit from increased public safety as this administration is able to implement its lawful immigration and public safety policies,” the representative said. “The federal government uses this information to enforce national immigration laws—policies supported by successive Democrat and Republican administrations.”
The law will also require 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, who introduced the legislation, said in a 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.