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Trump says he’s pulling federal funding from ‘sanctuary cities’ after court ruling says he can

President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks at the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)
March 05, 2020

President Donald Trump announced Thursday morning that the federal government will proceed with withholding funds from “sanctuary” states and cities who do not cooperate with federal agencies pursuing illegal immigrants.

“As per recent Federal Court ruling, the Federal Government will be withholding funds from Sanctuary Cities. They should change their status and go non-Sanctuary. Do not protect criminals!” Trump tweeted.

Last week, a federal appeals court sided with the Trump administration’s efforts to withhold federal grants to such states and cities who impeded immigration enforcement efforts.

On Feb. 26, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan decided to overturn a previous decision by a lower court which has forced the Trump administration to release the federal grants to New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, Massachusetts, Virginia and Rhode Island, as well as New York City.

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The lower court had decided that 8 U.S.C. § 1373 was unconstitutional. That specific law requires communication between federal, state, and local law enforcement or government agencies and ICE regarding citizenship or immigration information on all individuals in the U.S.

However, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law “does not violate the anticommandeering principle of the Tenth Amendment as applied here to a federal funding requirement.”

New York City and the seven states had sued the U.S. Department of Justice in 2017 after the department decided in 2017 that it would be withholding the grant money from states and localities refusing to provide ICE notice regarding illegal immigrants’ impending release from jails, as well as access to those jails.

The court determined that the Department of Homeland Security’s responsibilities of controlling illegal immigration were impeded by the states’ lack of compliance with U.S. immigration law.

The states argued that losing such federal grants would be harmful to the state’s fiscal health, and as such, they felt coerced into compliance. However, the court determined that New York’s withheld grant represented “less than 0.1% of the state’s annual $152.3 billion budget.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is in the process of ramping up illegal apprehension efforts in sanctuary cities throughout the country.

The agency requested an additional 500 special agents to join the arrest campaign, which includes 24-hour surveillance in areas with a heavy presence of illegal immigrants, according to the New York Times, who reviewed an ICE internal memo.