Saturday, March 7, 2020

Why the rare court win on sanctuary cities is so important — and how Trump can make the most of it

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Does a state have the right to use its law enforcement to thwart immigration law and then demand federal grant funds for its law enforcement? It’s a question that never even should have been in court, given that courts don’t appropriate funds, but because every political issue winds up in court, the Trump administration has been stymied in enforcing immigration laws against the states. That is, until now.
In reversal of a district court ruling and in disagreement with other more liberal circuit court rulings, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the Department of Justice was justified in cutting off law enforcement grants to sanctuary cities, such as New York City. The Second Circuit covers the states of New York, Vermont, and Connecticut, but New Jersey, Washington, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Rhode Island joined in the original district court lawsuit in New York.
“Repeatedly and throughout its pronouncement of Byrne Program statutory requirements, Congress makes clear that a grant applicant demonstrates qualification by satisfying statutory requirements in such form and according to such rules as the Attorney General establishes,” wrote Judge Reena Raggi for the unanimous three-judge panel. “This confers considerable authority on the Attorney General.”
Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions promulgated a regulation in 2017 requiring states to comply with three conditions in order to be eligible for Byrne Grant funds. Pursuant to the policy, states cannot restrict communications with federal authorities about the citizenship and immigration status of its incarcerated aliens, they are prohibited from releasing criminal aliens without prior notice, if requested by ICE, and they must allow federal immigration authorities access to incarcerated aliens. These jurisdictions were slated to lose $385 million in justice assistance grants.
States and cities sued the policy and won victories in numerous district courts as well as in the Seventh and Ninth Circuits. The courts’ rationales centered on federalism and state sovereignty, as if to say there is somehow a right for states to get federal funding while violating the sovereignty of the whole of the union.
Read the rest from Daniel Horowitz HERE.

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