Posted by 26 February 2020
President Trump has made no secret about his anger over some cities refusing to cooperate with federal immigration agents. Now a federal appeals court has given his administration the go-ahead to cut some funding for such jurisdictions.
The federal government cannot compel local governments, such as states and cities, to enforce federal law. These governments can choose to cooperate with federal law enforcement agencies, and routinely do. But so-called “sanctuary cities” have put in place policies that prohibit their law enforcement personnel from honoring requests from federal immigration agents or notifying the federal government of detainees’ immigration status.
These policies do not break federal law, so there is no way for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to attack them in court. However, the federal government does provide law enforcement grants to these jurisdictions. Under then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the DOJ announced a policy of reducing federal funding to areas with sanctuary policies.
Some of these jurisdictions sued, saying that this funding cutoff was unrelated to the purpose of public safety grants. This week, however, a federal appeals court ruled that the Trump Administration could indeed reduce funding under these grounds. The court held that Congress gave the Attorney General broad leeway to write rules and conditions for these grants.
The cities affected by this ruling are likely to appeal. The case could end up before the Supreme Court.
Do you support cutting some federal funding for “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration agencies?