Posted on August 12, 2019

Federal Judge Rules Trump Administration Can’t Punish for Sanctuary Status

Matthew Vadum, Epoch Times, August 11, 2019

A federal judge in Oregon ruled Aug. 7 that the Trump administration isn’t allowed to withhold millions of dollars in law enforcement grants from the state in an effort to make it comply with federal immigration enforcement officials.

In late 2018, Oregon and the city of Portland, which are located within the territory of the often-reversed 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, sued the U.S. government after the Department of Justice withheld grants under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program, after the administration began a campaign to pressure so-called sanctuary jurisdictions to cooperate with immigration law enforcement, a federal responsibility.


Portland’s mayor is Ted Wheeler, an elected Democrat whom critics accuse of being either too soft on or an ally of Antifa, the violent purportedly anti-fascist movement. {snip}

Wheeler hailed the lawsuit in November when it was initiated. “The City of Portland maintains that it is and has been in compliance with federal law, making the denial of federal funds to support our community unjust and unwarranted.”


In Eugene, Oregon, on Aug. 7, U.S. District Judge Michael J. McShane held that the Trump administration doesn’t have the lawful authority to impose conditions on grants provided by Congress. McShane was appointed to his post by then-President Barack Obama in 2013.

McShane found that the Trump administration’s attempt to attach legal strings to the grants ran afoul of the Tenth Amendment to U.S. Constitution, which states that powers not specifically assigned to the federal government are retained by the states or the people.

McShane found the administration’s policy backed Oregon into a corner, forcing it to choose between continuing to support its policies hindering federal immigration enforcement and forgoing “critical law enforcement funds.”


Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, both Democrats, filed suit last year in hopes of reinstating $4 million in fiscal 2017 and 2018 grants to the Beaver State, claiming Oregon was “unlawfully deprived” of the money. Portland’s share of the grants is said to be $780,000.


The decision in the case of Oregon’s eligibility for federal funding is one in a series of 9th Circuit decisions blocking Trump administration initiatives regarding illegal immigration.